At Ashok Chavan’s home turf Nanded, BJP’s PM nominee Narendra Modi on Sunday slammed the Congress leadership for fielding the former Maharashtra chief minister in the Lok Sabha polls despite corruption taint in the Adarsh housing scam.
“The Congress president Sonia Gandhi believes Ashok Chavan is Congress’ ‘Adarsh’ (ideal) candidate for 2014, Lok Sabha elections,” Modi mocked at the Congress leadership during his 23-minute speech, 15 minutes of which were devoted on the issue of corruption.
The Nanded stadium, the venue of Modi’s rally, was packed with people from adjoining villages who braved heat of 40 degrees Celsius to listen him.
Ridiculing Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for promising action against the corrupt, Modi said: “Is this how they act? By giving ticket to Ashok Chavan?… Adarsh was not an issue related to one building in Mumbai. It symbolises how shamelessly the government has engaged in cover-up operations to compromise for power politics.”
“Sonia Gandhi justifies arguing that Ashok Chavan has not been barred from contesting polls. The fact is Congress and corruption are integral to their politics.”
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The Gujarat chief minister, who was on a day’s whirlwind tour of Amravati, Akola and Nanded in Maharashtra, in his characteristic style promised to take action against all those involved in the multi-storey housing scam which he alleged was a betrayal to the war widows of Kargil heroes. “If we are voted to power, I will ensure, for once and all, a clean system by taking decisions on pending cases related to MLAs and MPs on corruption,”he said.
Nanded is perceived as the Congress’ safest seat because of Ashok Chavan. In 2009, the Congress won only two seats — Latur and Nanded — in the region.
At Amravati and Akola, Modi targeted NCP chief and Union agriculture minster Sharad Pawar, accusing him of doing “little to save the farmers in the belt, which has seen a spate of suicides by them”. “The agriculture minister is from here, yet he is unable to save farmers. He has time to talk on cricket but not for dying farmers. Let us have a NCP free India and Maharashtra,” he said.