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Seemingly unfazed at being ousted from the Asian Athletics Association, scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi on Monday said losing the presidential re-election bid to Qatar’s Dahlan Jumaan Al-Hamad has actually given him a chance to work at the “grassroots” level.
“I have no issues today and I congratulate Mr Al-Hamad for being elected as President. I am rather relieved that I will be able to work at the grassroots level in athletics,” Mr. Kalmadi said after losing the vote during the ongoing AAA Congress in Pune.

National News

NCP raped Maharashtra for 14 years: Raj Thackeray

Sunday - Mar 03, 2013, 11:53am (GMT+5.5)
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Jalna (Maharashtra) - Renewing his attack on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray Saturday accused the Sharad Pawar-led party of "raping" Maharashtra for the past 14 years.

"The NCP is holding all the crucial departments, home, irrigation, power and roads since 14 years. But what have they done so far? The NCP has raped the state," Thackeray said at a public rally in Jalna, 452 km to the east of Mumbai, in the parched Marathwada region.

Referring to the drought which has afflicted several parts of the state, Thacekray squarely blamed the NCP and the party's Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for the current scenario.

"The drought has hit 72 percent of the state. With another three months of summer to go the situation can well be imagined. In all these years, as many as 336 irrigation projects have been left incomplete and they need Rs.12,000 crore to complete. But, what are they doing?" he asked.

He alleged that if the projects are completed, then money will stop coming from the contractors.

Thackeray said that at least four big contractors became affluent overnight and demanded a probe into their assets.

When the state is confronted with such a severe drought, there is no need to hold the IPL matches in Maharashtra, he said.

Naming certain NCP and Bharatiya Janata Party legislators and parliamentarians, Thackeray accused them of being hand-in-glove in looting the state: "Why are the BJP-Shiv Sena silent in the face of such a serious drought reeling across the state?"

Pointing out that he was accused by the NCP of using abusive language, but the suffering people of the state are abusing it (NCP) even more. "I shall not be polite towards those who have been doing otherwise (looting) the state," he declared.

Shifting to election gear, Thackeray said that now the Congress-NCP has just one and half years left: "After my government comes to power, then where will Ajit Pawar go? Let them slap any number of cases against MNS activists, after we come to power, we shall withdraw all of them (cases)," he assured.

This was Thackeray's first and keenly watched public rally after his Aurangabad rally last Tuesday when his convoy was attacked allegedly by NCP workers. It direct fallout was MNS' retaliatory attacks on NCP offices in over a dozen parts of the state including Mumbai.

Thackeray had promised to "give a fitting reply" to the NCP at Saturday's rally and said he would now visit Pune - the Pawar family bastion March 7, followed by a tour of Vidarbha starting March 16.

Meanwhile, NCP state spokesperson Nawab Malik claimed that last week, the MNS had bought a used car for Rs.35,000 and then burnt it, according to police investigations.

"Same type stunt of stone-throwing on its leader's car by the (MNS) party workers and then blame NCP with the motive of attracting media and public attention. This is the real face of MNS," Malik said in a statement.


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