The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of allowing criminals into its ranks leading to law and order problems in Maharashtra. The ruling party BJP dismissed the charges as "baseless".
Nawab Malik, the national spokesperson for NCP claimed that members of underworld don Chhota Rajan's gang have become office-bearers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). "The BJP is allowing criminals in its fold, be it in Nagpur, Pune or other small cities," he was quoted as informing reporters in Maharashtra's Dhule district after campaigning for NCP candidates ahead of the municipal corporation polls scheduled on Dec 9.
Malik referred to a media report about Rajan's brother -in-law Rahul Walunj being appointed as an office-bearer by the BJP three years ago.
"[Union minister Nitin] Gadkari had also earlier said they (the BJP) will turn 'Valya Kolis into Valmiki' (goons into saints). So, they have initiated a programme to turn such people into Valmiki, threatening the law and order situation," said the NCP leader.
Notably, Union Water Resources Minister Gadkari had in April last year reportedly cited criticism faced by the BJP for inducting criminals into the party, and said the entry of such people only changes them for good.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye termed Malik's allegations as "baseless" and hit out at the NCP, saying it was at the forefront of criminalising politics.
"The BJP has always fought against criminalisation of politics," Upadhye said.
He recalled that the BJP had under the leadership of late Gopinath Munde taken out a 'Sangharsh Yatra' in 1994 against criminalisation of politics in the state.
"So, instead of making such allegations, they (NCP) better introspect," Upadhye said.
With Agency Inputs