Pune, Oct 20 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar exhorted his partymen to work towards the 2014 national and state elections without "bothering about criticism" Saturday while addressing the party's two-day convention here.
He also gave a clean chit to his nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, whose name has been embroiled in an alleged Rs.20,000 crore irrigation scam.
"How can leaders or ministers be responsible for sub-standard work carried out by the engineers or contractors? There has been a seven percent increase in the state irrigation sector," Sharad Pawar said.
He added that more needs to be done to bring water to the people in northern and Marathwada regions of the state.
Indirectly supporting Ajit Pawar, the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that "the irrigation department is being deliberately targeted" from some quarters.
Referring to the controversial Lavasa private hill station developed near Pune, Sharad Pawar claimed that it has benefitted the state by generating huge employment opportunities, virtually dismissing allegations made by RTI and India Against Corruption activists over the past couple of days.
"Whenever there is good development work being carried out, it attracts criticism. Do not heed these critics, but continue with your work," Sharad Pawar urged his partymen.
Speaking on the occasion, NCP state president Madhukarrao Pichhad said that the UPA government at the centre is in power because of Sharad Pawar.
"However, if the Congress decides to contest the next elections independently, then we shall also follow suit," Pichhad declared.
Party leader and state Public Works Department Minister Chhagan Bhujbal dismissed all allegations of corruption levelled against him in the construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.
"If the allegations are proved, I shall quit politics," Bhujbal said.
Earlier, party spokesperson Nawab Malik said that party leader Tariq Anwar would be nominated as a minister in the central cabinet while Maharashra minister Sachin Aher will be the new guardian minister of Pune district, earlier held by Ajit Pawar.