Politicians gang-up regardless of colour

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 20 April 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Maharashtra politicians show an amazing propensity to close ranks and turn adversity into advantage. The latest example is social activist Medha Patkar's allegations against several political heavyweights, including BJP's Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde, deputy chief minister of the NCP Ajit Pawar and the former Congress Sunil Deshmukh in the canal graft.

Quoting income tax report, Patkar alleged on Thursday that Munde, Gadkari and Pawar received kickbacks from an irrigation contractor who heads a company which in joint venture build a branch canal in Vidarbha.

Munde immediately issued a statement denying involvement in the kickback scam. Describing Patkar's charges as baseless, state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, too, dismissed the alleged involvement of Gadkari and Munde in the Ghodjari branch canal project.

Toeing a similar line, Ajit Pawar said there was no substance in Patkar's allegations.

"The government has ordered a probe... We will come to know about the truth once the probe report is out," he said, promptly distancing himself from the "scam".

Sunil Deshmukh, the Congress rebel, too, offered an identical rebuttal. Stating that he was minister of state for water resources between 2004 and 2008, Deshmukh said, "I was not in-charge of the portfolio during the period which Patkar is referring to."

"The uniformity in politicians' neatly scripted reaction to Patkar's allegation is proof of how survival instinct prompts them to sink party differences and stay united to protect their glass houses," said a political observer.

Recalling the recent incident of Sachin Suryavanshi case -- a traffic cop being assaulted by several legislators in the foyer of the Vidhan Bhavan -- political observers said that all MLAs were quick to set side their party differences and turn the tables on the policeman during discussion in the assembly.

"It's hardly surprising that the assembly probe panel to inquire into incident has blamed the cop and two MLAs. Three MLAs who were also reportedly involved in the assault have been absolved of the charge," the observer added.

Finally, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant on Friday questioned the authenticity of the document on which Patkar allegations were based. Similarly NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase has sung a similar tune which may be music to the ears of Munde, Gadkari and Ajit Pawar. "It will be early to hurl allegation. We should wait for SIT probe. Names in a diary do not say much. Any one can scribble down names of political stalwarts in a personal diary."

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