Surajkund (Haryana): Allegations against BJP chief Nitin Gadkari of attempts to cover Maharashtra irrigation scam cast a shadow over the party national council meeting which attacked Government on corruption and demanded rollback of its economic reforms measures.

All set to get a second term as president after amendments to the party constitution on Friday, Gadkari was caught in a controversy with a woman activist accusing him of dissuading her from raking up the alleged irregularities in irrigation projects in Maharashtra under NCP's charge.

The whole day the party was fending off allegations and by evening Gadkari got a legal notice issued to RTI activist Anjali Damania asking her to retract forthwith the "false, baseless and defamatory remarks" and tender a public apology promptly.

While the party rejected the charges against Gadkari, he himself refused to comment.

The highlight of day's deliberations was the Economic Resolution which demanded demanded immediate reversal of the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail and cancellation of scam-tainted allotment of coal blocks since 2004.

The resolution adopted by the National Council also demanded instituting an independent and impartial probe into the Coalgate scam.

It also sought an immediate rollback of diesel price hike and capping of LPG cylinders and asked the government to immediately take effective steps to urgently bring down prices of fertilizers.

Moving the resolution, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said, "BJP is committed to reforms which are in national interest. Reforms are not what western powers define them to be.... It is unfortunate that we accept the definition that foreign nations give to reforms."

Jaitley said that "reforms should be pro-people and it is unfortunate that the word reform is being brought a bad name.... Every change is not a reform and what goes against the grain of the country is a counter-reform and we must reject it."

The resolution said that "the Government was expected to carry pro-people reforms like bringing back blackmoney and taking tough decisions against corruption, instead it is advertising its anti-people administrative decisions as big bang reforms."

"The Government had an option of large number of domestic reforms which are pending. There is a broad consensus on these reforms.

"The government has chosen to ignore these reforms but implemented a decision which will hurt the national interest."

An unfazed Gadkari, meanwhile, carried on with the day's engagements. Addressing the over 1000 delegates, he asked the party to shun the culture of sycophancy like touching feet of leaders if the party wants to emerge as an alternative to the UPA in the next elections.

"Stop touching the feet of the younger leaders. This is a sign of helplessness.... Stop this drama of protocol.... Worshiping the rising son is a culture of the Congress.

"If you deserve something, you will definitely get it," Gadkari said addressing the BJP National Council.

While warning partymen against engaging in sycophancy to advance their careers, he said that "this maybe a practice in a ma-beta (mother-son) party."

Gadkari told his party cadre to get ready to overthrow the Congress-led government and prepare for a change of role from a "party of opposition to a party delivering good governance".

He attacked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for going into "silent mode" and pushing the country towards a policy paralysis.

The party also charged that Singh was once opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail.

Gadkari promised that if voted to power NDA will form the state of Telangana without any delay and also ensure social harmony, including in the north-east and Assam.

BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu charged Singh with opposing FDI in retail sector as Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha during NDA regime.

Naidu said as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Singh wrote to the Federation of Associations of Maharashtra on December 21, 2002, setting aside the fears of the trader community and noting that the NDA government at the time has assured that it did not propose to invite FDI in retail.

Naidu said, "As leader of opposition you oppose FDI, when in power you favour it...what is this, FDI is bad in NDA, but FDI is good now that you are in power."

(Agencies)

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