Days after resigning as Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar reiterated that there was a consistent effort to malign him and his party.

In a veiled attack on the Congress, Mr. Pawar said allegations were levelled against him to divert attention from Coalgate.

Mr. Pawar was addressing a rally in Akole taluka of Ahmednagar district after inaugurating the Nilwande dam project.

Talking in public for the first time since his resignation, he said: “All the allegations are false. I didn’t resign on anybody’s demand. Today, not even a sarpanch leaves his chair. I did because I am moulded in Pawar saheb’s [Sharad Pawar] thoughts.”

He stated that he was not upset with anyone, and that he resigned so that a proper inquiry could be held. “I urged people to not burn anybody’s posters or create chaos in the State.”

Mr. Pawar chose to take the opportunity to publicly declare that the delays in the irrigation projects were not because of corruption.

“We [the NCP] are not the only ones responsible. It takes time to convince people. The rehabilitation process delays irrigation projects. I am thinking of the people who will lose their land,” he said.

Reiterating that his resignation was not a drama, he urged the “other people” to come and see the reality. “Some people don’t understand these issues. They lead luxurious lives. They should come in the tribal areas and see for themselves.”

Mr. Pawar said he had inaugurated irrigation projects worth 250-crore on Sunday. Daring the government, he said: “At least now get out the White Paper. Let people know why there were delays.”

“My way of working is through solving people's problems. I will not run away from this.” He would undertake a tour of the State to “tell people the truth.”