New Delhi(web team): Even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, continued with his new-found thunder, while opposing land acquisition bill in Lok Sabha, the government unleashed two of its lady cabinet ministers to mount an offensive against him, over his criticism on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for cancellation of a mega food park project in his Amethi constituency. Food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and HRD Minister Smriti Irani took on Cong vice-president for criticisng PM
Harsimrat Kaur Badal and other minister at Parliament House on Tuesday PTI
While food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal (daughter-in-law of Punjab CM) took on the Congress vice-president in Lok Sabha, gave a detailed statement second in last few days, leading to acrimonious scenes, human resources development Minister Smriti Irani landed in Amethi to respond his allegations on ground. "If Rahul Gandhi wishes for politics of change, he should join me in Amethi," said Irani, who had unsuccessfully contested last Lok Sabha poll against Rahul.
The Lok Sabha witnessed acrimonious scenes, as Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge lost his temper on the Speaker, accusing her of allowing Badal to repeat her statement "just to defame" Rahul and challenged her to allow a debate on the food parks to know how many food parks are there and in what manner.
Even as the government tried to corner Rahul for suddenly waking up to the park cancelled long back on July 11 last year, Congress also accused government of speaking in different language. Irani even accused Rahul of caring for a business house whose licence for the park was cancelled and not for the farmers. She challenged him on his home turf even before he himself lands there this weekend.
While the Congress MPs were quite agitated, protesting against the attack mounted on Rahul in the Lok Sabha, he looked least undeterred as three hours later he went full blast against the government, seizing the opportunity of debate on the land acquisition bill.
Congress, on the other hand, charged the government of giving contradictory statements, saying cancellation of food park was marked a politics of revenge and vendetta.
The party chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewla pointed out that while Harsimrat Kaul Badal has linked cancellation to an inordinate delay on the part of promoter to meet conditions for final approval, NK Gayati, director in her ministry has stated that non-availability of proof of possession of land was the reason of cancellation.
Another officer Manok Kumar Singh, the head of UP State Industrial Development Corporation contradicts both the minister and director, saying his organisation had transferred 72 acres of land in possession of Indo-Gulf Fertilisers to the SPV, the organisation formed to run the park. "It is therefore, incorrect to say the SPV didn't had requisite 50 acres of land for the project," said Surjewala.
The company was only awaiting enactment of rules for subleasing to take physical possession of the land. Further, the Congress spokesman said there was no truth in government earlier assertion that developer was asking for supply of gas at concessional rates. Surjewala mentioned letter of Food Minister dated May 7, 2015 saying supply of gas at lower prices was not a pre-condition for approval of this project.
Moreover, on June 30, the Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee (IMAC), which reviewed 10 such projects, granted extension to seven of them. Only two one in Amethi and another in Baghalpur in Bihar were cancelled.