New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) The Congress hit out at the BJP chief Nitin Gadkari Friday and demanded a probe into a letter he wrote seeking payment to contractors in a water project in Vidarbha, which is linked to the multi-crore irrigation scam in Maharashtra.
"The letter raises serious doubts and the questions arising out of it should be answered," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here.
Not specifying what kind of probe should be ordered, Dwivedi said a suitable inquiry should be done in the matter.
The Congress also lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its "negative politics" and said the opposition party had never practised its politics on its own strength.
"They mock at Congress secularism. India's tradition has always been secular. They haven't learnt from India's tradition," he said.
Dwivedi also said the project was started in 1983 at an estimated cost of Rs.372 crore, and the cost was now Rs.13,596 crore.
"Why was this project delayed? Who is responsible for it?" Dwivedi questioned.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari faced heat over a letter he wrote July 30 to union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal. In the letter, Gadkari asked Bansal to clear the dues of the contractors involved in the centrally-sponsored Gosikhurd dam project in Vidarbha though no names were mentioned.
The Congress alleged that the BJP leader was interested in getting payments of some of his associates cleared expeditiously.
Gadkari defended his letter and said he had sought clearance of payments so that the project, aimed at enhancing irrigation potential in farmer suicide-prone Vidarbha, gets completed.
The Gosikhurd project figures in the alleged scam in irrigation projects in Maharashtra which led to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar quiting last month as the state's deputy chief minister till a white paper is issued on the issue.