India Against Corruption (IAC) member Anjali Damania, who has exposed irregularities in irrigation projects with the help of the Right to Information Act, almost decided to give up her fight after a meeting with BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who allegedly refused to support the fight against scams in dam projects.
An IAC statement said on Thursday: “When the strength of the perpetrators was used in full… to subvert the exposure [of corruption in dams], we were heartened [by the fact] that help came from an unexpected quarter, the Opposition party [the BJP].” BJP leaders Devendra Phadnavis and Kirit Somaiya had demanded a probe into irrigation scams and the assets of Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare of the Nationalist Congress Party, allegedly disproportionate to the known sources of his income.
Ms. Damania heard rumours that there were attempts to stymie the demand for a probe and she met Mr. Gadkari at his residence in Worli, Mumbai, on August 14. She was shocked by his alleged response that he had business dealings with NCP leaders. At 4.43 p.m. that day, she sent a long text message to his mobile. The IAC provided its screen shots.
In her message, Ms. Damania said her father was in the RSS and she felt that she could do much as her principles were those of the RSS. She met Mr. Gadkari because of his RSS connections and believed that he would have some values. She said: “This morning when I met you, my faith was simply rocked. How can my Opposition party president have such close links with the ruling party and why? For the sake of business? Are you supposed to do business or be our politician and work for the betterment of my country? Where is ‘DESH’ [the country], ‘DESHSEVA’ [service to the nation]? Up in thin air? Compromise and seat-sharing with NCP? With those who are fleecing the poor, terrorising the farmers… Why? For power? Or for money? Our RSS prayer used to teach us to bow down to our motherland, to the cause. We prayed to almighty to bless us with purity of character, spiritual bliss and lead this nation to [the] highest pinnacle of glory, have you forgotten the prayer or you chose to forget?”