With the opposition BJP in Uttarakhand seeking a CBI probe and removal of Amirat Rawat from the state cabinet for providing horticulture subsidy to her husband and son, Chief Minister Harish Rawat has sought the advice of the party high command on the issue.
Since the issue relates to a senior Congress leader, the CM is seeking the advice of the party high command on the issue related to Amrita Rawat, said sources in the CM office.
Rawat, a cabinet minister in Uttarakhand and her husband and Congress MP Satpal Maharaj have found themselves at the centre of a political storm amid allegations that the state horticulture department, which she was heading, paid heavy subsidy for setting up polyhouses in their nurseries.
But Rawat admitted that the subsidy was given to her husband and son but claimed no norms were violated when they took it under the horticulture mission for setting up polyhouses in their nurseries in Dehradun in order to boost their family’s floriculture business. “This subsidy is for people and anybody can take it. The opposition only wants to stall the proceedings of the House,” said Rawat.
Interestingly, Maharaj, a former union minister, is a renowned self-styled godman with a mass following and a strong network of ashrams spread across the country.
The BJP, which got the information on the alleged scandal from an RTI activist, launched a scathing attack on the government inside and outside the Vidhan Sabha on the issue. The BJP also raked up the issue in a big way inside the House on third consecutive day on Thursday with the Leader of the Opposition Ajay Bhatt alleging that subsidy to the tune of lakhs of rupees was paid to Maharaj and his son Suyash even when the two had tried to hide their identities by not pasting their mandatory photographs on the applications. “Moreover, Maharaj did not give his full name in the application,” said Bhatt as the House was adjourned repeatedly over the issue.
The agitated BJP members continued to troop into the well to seek an immediate discussion on the issue under the rule 310, a demand rejected by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal. Amid the ruckus, the Speaker adjourned the House sine die.
Since Maharaj is a known political adversary of Chief Minister Harish Rawat, a section of Congress leaders also exerted pressure for the removal of Amrita Rawat from the cabinet. Interestingly, Maharaj had opposed Rawat’s candidature for the post of Chief Minister vehemently last month. Maharaj, who belongs to N D Tiwari group, had been playing spoilsport to Rawat ever since the new state of Uttarakhand was born in 2000. Ends