Pune | Senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal today got a rousing welcome as he attended a function in Sahakar Nagar area in the city to mark the 19th anniversary of the Nationalist Congress Party.
Among the people he thanked for supporting him during his troubles was NCP president Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Raj Thackeray.
Bhujbal was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on May 4 this year after being in jail since March 2016 in connection with a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Addressing thousands of party workers, Bhujbal made it clear that he would not leave the NCP.
“Whatever mistakes we did, we will rectify them by staying in the party,” Bhujbal told the gathering.
Heaping praise on NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Bhujbal said that his family members used to visit the senior leader’s house on a regular basis.
“When I was in jail, my family members used to visit Pawar saheb regularly. If they missed a visit, Pawar saheb personally used to call them and would inquire about their well being,” he said.
Bhujbal hit out at the BJP government and accused it of vendetta politics claiming that his properties were raided multiple times.
“My properties were raided multiple times but they did not get anything in these raids. But they still kept me behind bars for a long time,” Bhujbal said.
“I have full faith in the judiciary because it was due to the same judiciary that I could come out on bail. Because of this judiciary,I will prove my innocence and come out clean very soon,” he claimed.
In a sarcastic dig at four years of the Narendra Modi government, Bhujbal said that people had received Rs 15 lakh in their accounts, the youth had got jobs, every village had got electricity connections, toilets had been built and terrorism had been wiped out due to demonetisation.
Attacking the Centre further, he claimed the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was as per the provisions of the Constitution but the “Emergency” imposed by the current government was “unconstitutional”.
Bhujbal thanked Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for extending support during his troubled times.
He also thanked MNS’ Raj Thackeray, NCP MP Supriya Sule and BJP minister DilipKamblefor supporting him.
Bhujbal told the gathering that some “people” had tried to create an image of his as somebody opposed to Maratha reservations.
“There are people who deliberately tried to create my image as that of somebody opposing Maratha reservations. I fully support reservations for Marathas,” Bhujbal said.
The former state Public Works Department minister was arrested in March 2016 after an ED inquiry revealed that he and his associates allegedly misused their office and caused financial loss to the government.
According to the ED, Bhujbal had awarded contracts related to construction and development works, including one for the construction of the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, to a particular firm, in return for kickbacks for himself and his family.