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Congress plays Adani card to counter BJP on Vadra land deals
Playing the Adani card, Congress on Wednesday sought to put Narendra Modi in the dock for giving vast tracts of land to his “favourite capitalist friend” at throw away prices by treating the state as his “private feudal estate” days after BJP raked up Robert Vadra’s land deals.
It also alleged a scam of Rs 23,000 crore in power purchase agreements in Gujarat. Besides, it claimed that BJP’s poll expenditure is double at Rs 10,000 crore than that of US President Barack Obama.
Seeking to puncture the “good governance balloon” of Gujarat, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi posed questions to the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate accusing him of practising “crony capitalism” and “squandering of state largesse”.
He also faulted the state-owned Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam of entering into power purchase agreements at different rates with three companies.
He said while Gujarat government would be purchasing power from two Adani plants at Rs 2.89 and Rs 2.35 per unit, it is being bought at Rs 2.26 from a third thermal unit.
This constituted a massive fraud as per unit 63 paise are being given more, which will lead to the thermal power producer gaining Rs 23,625 crore more over a 25 year period.
Singhvi sought to know from the Gujarat Chief Minister whether he has taken action against his cabinet colleague Anandi Ben Patel who has been pulled up by the Supreme Court for giving 36 acre land to a company.
“The questions I have asked why after Supreme Court strictures, are you continuing with her and indeed have promoted her to a de-facto Chief Minister when you are giving lecturers that you will take action against everybody. Please look into your backyard first,” he said.
Singhvi also asked as to why Gujart government kept the issue of land allotment to Alumina refinery in Bhuj outside the purview of MB Shah Commission of enquiry into land allotments.
The party made a stout defence of Vadra alleging that BJP was targeting him in the midst of elections through baseless allegation.
“People cannot be fooled by throwing things in the air. For last four months Vasundhara Raje is Chief Minister,” he said noting that she would have taken action if there would have been any wrong doing in land deals of Vadra in Rajasthan.
Reiterating the charge that BJP is spending Rs 10,000 crore on its election campaign of which Rs 5,000 crore is supposed to be for only ad campaigns, Singhvi said, “This is more than President Barack Obama spent on his entire presidential campaign, which was Rs 5,000 crore.
“Obama had to declare every penny of it. Why do you not give an account statement of what you have spent in ads alone?” he asked.
About the difference in the rate in power purchase agreements, Singhvi said that 63 paise per unit more in each of the two companies paid comes to about Rs 1,347 crore loss for two years and for a 25 year contract to Rs 23,625 crore if multiplied by the thousands of units supplied.
“My question is please tell the nation why you gave a direct benefit of Rs 23,625 crore over a period of 25 year contract for supply of electricity by agreeing to pay 63 paise per unit more for electricity and thereby squandered state resources.
“And also why you added insult to injury, gave land at cheap rates to set up that power plant. So land is given at extremely cheap subsidised rate and power is purchase at very expensive rates,” Singhvi said.
He alleged that the same same friend is given land very cheap but no answer is given by Modi.
Singhvi said, “The price charged to him is for varying parcels of land from Rs 2.5 to Rs 25 per sq mt whereas the market price is Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500. He is given 5,465 hectares which is equal to 5,46,56,819 sq mt.
“On any differential of market price, if you are to calculate this humongous amount of Rs 5,465 hectares, equal to 5.5 crore sq mt, I find it impossible to believe that till now the Gujarat government headed by the prime ministerial pretender who gives us lectures of good governance everyday
has failed to answer the simple question – why and how?”
“People to whom you are lecturing want some answers and this set of questions relate to examples of crony capitalism, examples of squandering of state largesse as if it is your private feudal estate and it demands answers in the public interest,” he added.