BJP defends Gadkari, rebuts Kejriwal's charges

BJP defends Gadkari, rebuts Kejriwal's charges

The BJP stoutly defended party president Nitin Gadkari, facing charges of acquiring farmers’ land in Vidarbha, and turned the tables on Team Kejriwal saying, “hitmen have secured a self goal and damaged the credibility of civil society”. 

India Against Corruption led by Kejriwal, on Wednesday, held a press conference to charge that Nitin Gadkari acquired farmers land in his native Vidarbha owing to his cosy relationship with former Maharashtra minister Ajit Pawar, the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and an important ally in the UPA government.

Immediately after, senior party leaders huddled at Gadkari’s residence to fine tune their strategy to counter Kejriwal’s expose, which did not rattle them as they had feared.

After the meeting, Gadkari dismissed the charges as "baseless, wrong and unfortunate". 

Launching a counter offensive, he said Kejriwal, who has jumped into the political fray, was attempting to occupy opposition space with a tacit understanding with corruption-tainted Congress. "I am ready for any kind of probe," he said. According to him, the land (about 100 acres) was a wasteland valued at only Rs 20 lakh.

Though the allegations related to Gadkari’s business interests, BJP party brass Sushma Swaraj and Arjun Jaitley were fielded by the party to defend the president. “Today’s press conference is a failed attempt to bring a moral equivalence between Congress and the BJP. A mountain of what was not even a molehill was desperately made out by the IAC,” Jaitley hit back at Kejriwal.

He also added that the “IAC has damaged the credibility of civil society” as he had to bend backwards to find out what the corruption was in acquiring waste land lying idle for 22 years.

But, the party failed to give a direct reply to why the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra gave immediate consent to hand over 100 acres of land to Gadkari’s organisation and not to local farmers who had offered in writing to the district administration to buy back their land or to give it to them on lease.