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Saturday, January 21, 2012

BJP on defensive as Kejriwal raises Mahakumbh scam issue

Haridwar, January 21
Team Anna members today cornered the BJP on the issue of the Mahakumbh scam, which took place during the tenure of Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
Arvind Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas and Manish Sishodiya raised the Mahakumbh scam issue at their first rally at Ranipur in Haridwar.
Pro-BJP supporters were seen clapping when Kejriwal termed the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Act introduced by Chief Minister BC Khanduri as the best in the country. He praised Khanduri for acting promptly on the Lokayukta Act after he was reinstated as Chief Minister and also including his post under its purview.
Kejriwal urged other state governments to adopt the Uttarakhand model of Lokayukta. He took a dig at the Gujarat government saying, “The people need a strong and effective Lokayukta. A debate is on about who should be appointed Lokayukta, which is important only when there is a strong Lokayukta Act.”
However, Kezriwal then raised the issue of Mahakumbh funds in Haridwar. He said the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) had pointed towards the Rs 200-crore Mahakumbh fund scam in Haridwar in 2010, which itself emphasised the need for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill and a Lokayukt Act so that those who pocketed the public money meant for a religious and spiritual fair could be put behind bars.
The Team Anna members also targeted Cabinet minister and Mahakumbh mela in-charge Madan Kaushik. Kumar Vishwas said the people of Haridwar had to decide, “Whether they want another Kumbh scam or they want to teach their representatives a lesson for hurting their religious sentiments by not voting for a corrupt candidate.
Following today’s rally both Congress and BJP issued statements in the evening regarding the Team Anna’s campaign in the district and urged it to contest elections rather than playing blame game.
General secretary of the Women Congress Dr Santosh Chauhan said Team Anna seemed to be anti-Congress as a major part of its speeches revolved around the Congress only.
She said Kejriwal and others were having prejudice against the Gandhi family and development schemes. At the same time they were praising the Lokayukta Act in the state as the best though it had several anomalies, she added.
Tej Prakash Sahu, spokesperson for the city BJP unit, termed allegations against Nishank as baseless. He said there was no substantial evidence in the Mahakumbh fund scam or the Sterdia land deal case and the charges were politically motivated, aimed at maligning the image of the state government. As Nishank is contesting from the Doiwala seat bordering Haridwar district and Madan Kaushik from Haridwar city, the Mahakumbh fund issue may impact their electoral fortunes in the Assembly elections on January 30.

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