Will PM deliver on ‘promise’ to put Ashok Chavan behind bars, Congress asks


PTI, Apr 20, 2024, 12:09 PM IST

PTI photo

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking whether he would deliver on his ‘promise’ to put the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Chavan in jail. Chavan, a former Congress leader, joined the BJP earlier this year.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed a few questions for Prime Minister Modi ahead of his rally in Nanded and Parbhani.

“Today’s questions for PM Modi as he heads to Nanded and Parbhani: Will the PM deliver on his promise to put BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Chavan in jail? What is the BJP’s plan to deal with Marathwada’s worsening drought and water scarcity? Why has the Indian Railways performed so poorly in Nanded division,” Ramesh said in a post on ‘X’.

Elaborating on what he dubbed as “jumla details”, the Congress leader said the prime minister should revisit his words from his campaign in Nanded on March 30, 2014, when he launched a ferocious attack on Chavan — “now the latest labaarthi of the ‘BJP Washing Machine Yojana'”.

“The PM declared Chavan an ‘Adarsh candidate’, and said that ‘the Congress is shameless’ for having given him a ticket while he was under investigation,” Ramesh said.

He said Modi had announced that he would send Chavan to jail “within six months” if he became the prime minister.

“A decade later, Chavan is not in jail, continues to be under investigation, and is a Rajya Sabha MP from the BJP. Does PM Modi hold the BJP to be ‘shameless’ as well? Will he conspire to get Mr Chavan a clean chit soon? Will he deliver on his promise to put the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Chavan in jail,” Ramesh asked.

After suffering from drought conditions over the last four months, the Marathwada region has now been hit by unseasonal rains and hailstorms, which have caused severe crop losses, he said.

“The ruling BJP government has not declared this event a national disaster or announced any relief measures. This is no surprise from a government that has also failed to care for the lifeline of Marathwada, the Godavari river,” Ramesh added.

Although Rs 88 crore were allocated for the cleaning of the river in 2022, there has been no tangible improvement, he said.

“Why has PM Modi ignored the plight of Marathwada’s farmers? Does his government have any plans to protect the river that is so crucial to the environmental and economic health of this drought prone area,” Ramesh further asked.

He also claimed that the railway infrastructure in the Nanded division, which serves many areas in Marathwada, has collapsed under the Modi government’s supervision.

According to data furnished by the South Central Railway (SCR) in 2021, Nanded has only 35 kilometres of route electrification and 83 kilometres of track-doubling, he said.

“This puts it at the bottom in terms of electrification and only marginally ahead of the bottom in track doubling compared to other SCR divisions.

“Additionally, it is the only division in its zone that still has 130km of colonial-era meter-gauge tracks,” Ramesh said.

Why has crucial railway infrastructure been neglected in Nanded, he asked.

“Does the PM have any real vision for bringing development to the Marathwada region,” Ramesh said and asked the prime minister to break his “silence” on these issues.

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