Ministers target Rahul in LS

Ministers target Rahul in LS

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday targeted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

Javadekar claimed that his predecessor Jayanti Natarajan had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi complaining that several projects had not been granted clearance due to interference from Rahul Gandhi’s office. Badal on the other hand accused the Congress vice-president with “misleading” people of his constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, by laying the foundation stone of a proposed food park several months after its promoters had withdrawn from the project.

With MPs from the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Leftist parties raising slogans and waving placards in the Well of the House, the two ministers targeted Rahul while replying to supplementary queries during Question Hour.

Rahul was seen standing in the aisles of the House and interacting with Trinamool Congress MPs.

Pinaki Mishra of the Biju Janata Dal slammed the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government as a “corrupt regime”. While asking a supplementary question, he accused the previous government of depriving the nation of Foreign Direct Investment worth Rs 52000 crore by not granting the forest clearance to Posco, which wanted to set up a plant in Odisha. He also criticized the previous regime for releasing less than 50 per cent of the grants-in-aid for protection and conservation of forest in the past three years.

“She (Jayanti Natarajan) has written how the projects were stalled; how the projects were directed saying that the permission should not be given. That is how the regime continued for long. That is why, the project that you mentioned, Posco or maybe other projects, were stalled,” said Javadekar, replying to the query by Mishra.

“The Environment Ministry was converted by the earlier regime as the ‘roadblock ministry’. We (the NDA government) believe that both the environment protection and development are possible simultaneously,” he said.

The Environment Minister also said that the previous government had adopted a partisan policy while releasing funds to the states. While replying to another question, Badal pointed out that although Rahul had enormous influence during the rule of the previous UPA regime, he could not ensure land for the food park in his constituency.

“Neither could he provide gas at subsidised rate to the promoter company which wanted to set up a captive power plant at the proposed food park.”

She said that while the promoters had withdrawn from the project in February 2013 citing non-availability of subsidised gas, Rahul laid the foundation stone of the project in October 2013 – just a few months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

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