New Delhi, Oct 6: BJP president Nitin Gadkari Saturday admitted writing a letter in favour of the Gosikhurd irrigation project in Maharashtra, adding that he had written not one but several, over many years, for the welfare of the local people.
Speaking a day after Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi accused him of links with a contractor in the Gosikhurd project, Gadkari said that he was only acting in the interests of people, as delays in the project were affecting them.
“What crime did I commit by writing a letter (in favour of the Gosikhurd project)? Since the project is in my area, people approached me when the project got delayed,” Gadkari said Saturday.
Dubbed as the Sardar Sarovar or Bhakra Nangal of the region, Gosikhurd dam is under construction in the drought-prone Vidarbha region, which has been in the news for farmer suicides over the past decade.
The confident BJP president asserted: “I have not written one letter but five and will write ten more”.
He also said various Congress leaders had also written letters favouring the project.
“Congress state chief Manikrao Thakre also wrote a letter… In my knowledge, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra also wrote a letter… Union Minister Mukul Wasnik wrote a letter. In fact a large number of MPs and MLAs wrote letters for the project,” Gadkari said.
“Farmers were committing suicide. If I had stayed quiet, I would have been accused of remaining silent. Now that I have spoken, that has become a problem,” Gadkari said.
Dwivedi had alleged Friday that Gadkari wrote a letter asking the state government to overlook irregularities committed by the contractor in the project. Dwivedi had said that Gadkari had a link with the contractor.
The controversy has come in the wake of allegations of corruption in fund utilisation in irrigation in Maharashtra, which forced the state’s deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, to resign.
The Congress forms the government in Maharashtra in coalition with the Nationalist Congress Party, to which Pawar belongs.