New Delhi: In a major political development, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Saturday announced that he would not contest elections any more. The veteran Maharashtra politician, however, said that he would continue to lead his party.
This comes even as the NCP chief has refuted allegations in connection with the Lavasa land deal scam, insisting that the land on which Lavasa has been built was allotted as per the policies of the government. The Union Agriculture Minister went on to accuse the social activists of attempting to discredit the institutions in the country.
"When we carry developmental work, we have to face all kinds of allegations. Clearance for Lavasa project was given as per government policy," said Pawar. Speaking to CNN-IBN, the Union Minister further said, "There is an attempt to create a belief that everyone is corrupt. An attempt is being made to discredit the institutions of this country."
Sharad Pawar and his family are under fire over the alleged allotment of land to a company in which the NCP chief's daughter owned shares. The allotment was made by the government when Pawar's nephew, Ajit Pawar, who recently resigned as the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, was the state Revenue Minister.
On Thursday as well, the NCP chief had dismissed the allegations made by former IPS officer YP Singh in connection with the Lavasa land deal. He had said, "Maharashtra government brought in hill station policy. Lavasa was built as per the hill station policy. There are no violations in Lavasa."
"Ajit Gulabchand has done pioneering work in building Lavasa hill station. I will not speak more as matter is under sub-judicious, there is no wrong doing there and work good work is going on under Maharashtra Hill policy," Pawar had said.
Earlier, former IPS officer YP Singh had targeted Sharad Pawar over Lavasa Corporation, claiming that the NCP chief was at the centre of the "real" scam. Singh said Ajit Pawar gave land for Lavasa hill city project at throwaway price.
"Ajit Pawar granted 341 acres to Lake City Corp on 30 years lease for just Rs.23,000 per month. In Mumbai, the smallest one bedroom house is not available for that price," he had said. Singh said 20.81 per cent shares of Lake City Corp Lavasa belonged to Supriya Sule and her husband Sadanand. "Ajit Pawar gave the land to this company virtually free. In 2006, Sule and her husband sold shareholding but at what cost," Singh questioned, stating that Supriya made a huge gain in the land deal.