A day after members of Team Anna called him a pocket edition of Suresh Kalmadi and took potshots at him for Kumbh Mela and land scams,former Uttarakhand chief minister and BJP leader Ramesh Pokhriyal on Sunday vowed to slap a case for defamation on key anti-graft activist Arvind Kejriwal.
I will file a suit for defamation against Kejriwal and demand that he furnish proof to substantiate his charges against me over Kumbh Mela (funds) and Sturdia (land scam), Nishank said while addressing a gathering in Sainik Colony in the local Doiwala Assembly constituency from where he is contesting. Come face-to-face,if you have the guts (dum hai to samane aao na), Nishank dared Kejriwal,raising the pitch. The loud talk had the desired effect on the audience,comprising by-and-large Tehri dam oustees who have a soft corner for Nishank,the man from the same Garhwal region as they are.
They all want to corner and kill me like Abhimanyu, Nishank said. The allusion to the besieged son of Arjun in Mahabharata had the desired effect. Women could be seen wiping their moist eyes. They cannot swallow the fact that somebody like me who walked barefoot on the hills could become the chief minister and now a vice-president of the BJP, he said.
Sensing the mood of the audience in his favour,Nishank stepped up the charge. These Congress men are spreading false stories against me, he said,claiming that the court had not only dismissed a PIL against him,but also imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on the petitioner. I ask Sonia Gandhi to have a CBI inquiry ordered into allegations against me or tell Uttarakhand Congress leaders to hold their ears and apologise to me, he said.
Let there be no doubt because my very name is Nishank (devoid of suspicion),I have committed no wrong, he said. However,he made no reference to his removal from the CMs post. Nor did he mention the name of B C Khanduri,who had preceded and succeeded him. There was one name,Atal Bihari Vajpayee,which he frequently invoked. Atalji is a true son of Uttarakhand,who gave us the separate state,overruling objections by his alliance partners… he said,recalling how the Congress had ignored the demand since 1952.
Listing the achievements of the BJP regime,he said we gave wheat,rice and dal to people at cheap rates,got a 10-year industrial package from the Centre,recruited 4,000 police constables,provided medical education against a nominal fee of Rs 15,000 and offered free and prompt ambulance service throughout the state. And,look at the Congress…they have five Lok Sabha members from Uttarakhand…and the Centre has snatched the special status from us,blocking industrial investment worth Rs 56,000 crore.
The meeting over,Nishank unleashed his trademark offensive to win over people. As he walked a bit,he encountered an old woman sitting in the sun outside her shop. He promptly touched her feet,lifted her hands and placed them over his head. Please bless me, he said. Overwhelmed by the sense of humility of a former chief minister,she showered her blessings in abundance. Obviously,she neither understood nor cared about scams.
A motor repair workshop,Royal Motors,was the next. Nishank,all smiles,walked up to the two Muslim men with skull caps who were obviously the owners and hugged them. The men visibly felt honoured.