Pune: Taking a potshot at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who was facing allegations of a Rs 70,000-crore irrigation scam during his tenure, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray asked where the money that was allocated for irrigation over the years disappeared.
Pawar, who was present along with Thackeray at the Water Cup Award ceremony on Sunday in the city, countered by saying that some people only know how to talk as they can do nothing.
The Water Cup Awards, which are given to the winning villages of the Water Cup Competition organised by the Paani Foundation run by actor Aamir Khan, saw Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis share the dais with former deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Water Conservation Minister Ram Shinde, Water Resources Minister Vijay Shivtare and MNS Chief Raj Thackeray.
Thackeray, who was in a hurry to leave for Mumbai, said that for years, there have been attempts to rid the state of droughts.
He said, “From the time it became a united state, Maharashtra till today, has been trying to rid itself of droughts. Both current and earlier government representatives are sitting here. So can they tell me, where did all the money allocated for irrigation go? A person like Aamir Khan is needed to spread the message and get the work done. If water equivalent to the money that disappeared in the Irrigation Department had actually percolated, it would have made Maharashtra prosperous.”
Ajit Pawar replied, “This is not a political platform and one must not turn it into one. Many people have put in their work over the years in solving the problems before the State. But some people who don’t want to do anything know only how to get claps and then leave the gathering.”
Pawar said there is still a water crisis in the state and that the cropping patterns should be worked upon to conserve water better.
Fadnavis has treated the Water Cup campaign on an equal footing with his flagship Jalyukt Shivar campaign. “Raj Thackeray asked where the money went. The fact is there have been many attempts at solving the problem. We gave a call to stop water and percolate water. If people decide to change their own village, they can create larger change. This little fact is not hard to understand, which answers such questions too.”
Fadnavis assured the organisers of the Water Cup that there will be no politicisation of the competition even in the election year, as “all are of the same party when it comes to water.”