The NCP has accused the BJP of allowing criminals into its fold leading to law and order problems in Maharashtra, a charge dismissed by the ruling party as "baseless". Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP) national spokesperson Nawab Malik claimed that members of the 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 told reporters in Maharashtra's Dhule district on Monday after campaigning for NCP candidates ahead of the municipal corporation polls scheduled there on December 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," the NCP leader alleged.
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 change 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 the criminalisation of politics," Upadhye said. He recalled that the BJP had under the leadership of late Gopinath Munde took out a 'Sangharsh Yatra' in 1994 against the criminalisation of politics in the state.
"So, instead of making such allegations, they (NCP) better introspect," Upadhye said.
(With inputs from agencies.)