The BJP-led government is planning to bring out a comprehensive white paper on the land scams that occurred in the last 15 years during the tenure of the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra.
The decision to expose the land scams during the Congress-NCP regime is part of the political strategy adopted by the BJP to reassert its political identity in Maharashtra. The decision was taken at the party’s state executive meeting after thorough deliberations among the top leaders.
Senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari said, “The BJP has demanded the government to come out with a white paper on land scams during the Congress-NCP reign in Maharashtra.”
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He further said, “ Since Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself is a BJP karyakarta (worker), he will accept the demand of the party workers on the white paper on land scam.”
Insiders in the party revealed to The Indian Express that the BJP decided to adopt an aggressive role to hit back at the Congress and the NCP ahead of the crucial local bodies elections. “The civic and zilla parishad polls starting late 2016 are crucial for the expansion of its electoral base,” said a leader.
The BJP core committee believes that the Congress-NCP’s ploy to misuse land to favour their own party workers or leaders at the cost of the state treasury should be accounted for districtwise.
Bhandari added, “The controversial Adarsh Housing scam was not an isolated case. The Rs 70,000-crore irrigation scam has also seen politicians from the Congress and the NCP misuse lands belonging to farmers. We have to expose all the Congress-NCP leaders who have accumulated massive wealth through misuse of government land.”
The BJP’s white paper is a counter strategy adopted by the party to fight the charges of corruption against their ministers. A few weeks ago, senior BJP minister Eknath Khadse had to resign following allegations of corruption, especially a murky land deal in Pune. In the past, Education Minister Vinod Tawde, rural development minister Pankaja Munde have also faced allegations in their respective departments.
Meanwhile, political managers in the BJP said Fadnavis is battling on two fronts. “He has to ensure good governance to reaffirm the faith of the public in the BJP. Secondly, party workers have to be enthused to take up the electoral challenges ahead of local polls,” said a leader.
Not surprisingly, while taking difficult decisions like ensuring Khadse’s resignation, the BJP also wants to keep the opposition on the back-foot.
Taking centre stage on the second day of the BJP’s state executive committee conclave, Fadnavis said, “I would like to emphatically state that the BJP is the only party with a strong organisational base. Yet, we cannot rest on our laurels. To work for its expansion and growth, we have to constantly evolve mechanisms through more structured ways to best serve the society.”
While he indicated that wrongs within the government or organisation cannot be endorsed, he also warned, “Baseless allegations against our ministers or leaders by our political rivals would be dealt firmly.”
In an ardent appeal to the workers, he said, “ We have to strengthen our booth-level planning through group meetings to reach out to the masses. Ahead of the local bodies elections, we have to convey the good schemes of the government to every individual.”
According to Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, “The BJP is resorting to such tactics to cover up its own corruption. If someone has done wrong, they should act. But it should not be for politics.”