‘Nexus between ruling party and Opposition enough to destroy people’s faith in government’

India Against Corruption (IAC) activist Anjali Damania on Friday said there was no question of apologising to Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari over statements she made on TV channels. Ms. Damania has sent a letter to Mr. Gadkari to the effect.

On Thursday, Mr. Gadkari sent Ms. Damania a legal notice demanding an apology for issuing “defamatory statements” to television channels such as NDTV “insinuating that the BJP president had business relations with Sharad Pawar.”

Mr. Gadkari has denied having met her. Replying to a legal notice from him, Ms. Damania told The Hindu: “There is no mention at all in the legal notice about our meeting in August.”

Ms. Damania said Mr. Gadkari had refused, during their meeting, to take a stand on irrigation scams due to the business tie-ups he had with Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar. Mr. Gadkari’s notice claimed Ms. Damania’s statements were a deliberate lie with an intention to defame him. While admitting that there was no record of her alleged meeting with Mr. Gadkari, Ms. Damania maintained that the BJP president had confessed that Mr. Sharad Pawar and he helped each other out. She expressed shock at the alleged nexus between the ruling party and the Opposition, and said it was enough to destroy the people’s faith in the government. Ms. Damania said it was Mr. Gadkari who should apologise to the nation instead of she to him.

In the letter, Ms. Damania asked Mr. Gadkari if he had ever spoken to Mr. Sharad Pawar or his nephew Ajit on the irrigation scam. She said it would be criminal not to speak up against farmer suicides in Maharashtra and the mismanagement of the money for irrigation.Ms. Damania said she was an ordinary citizen who lived with honesty. There were many like her, she said, who had put their personal lives aside to fight corruption, and they were reduced to doing so because of leaders such as Mr. Gadkari. The RTI activist said she was not frightened by Mr. Gadkari’s legal notice and called for an open dialogue among the people to unravel the truth.