Vaghji Boda (Right) in Rajkot. (Express photo by Chirag Chotaliya)
A day after he accused the BJP government in Gujarat of indulging in “white corruption” during groundnut procurement last year, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) chairman Vaghji Boda on Thursday resigned from the Congress.
“NAFED is a national-level organisation and its directors are associated with different parties. It was my mistake to comment about the groundnut (scam) at an event held under the banner of Congress. In the interest of NAFED, I hereby resign from Congress,” Boda said in his resignation letter.
On Wednesday, Boda while addressing a Congress event at Tankara tehsil said that although the Gujarat State Co-Operative Cotton Federation (GUJCOT) is a bankrupt entity, it was chosen by the BJP government to procure groundnuts from farmers on behalf of NAFED.
“Boda has resigned on his own because of the ongoing blame-game. There was no pressure on him,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi, adding Boda was not holding any party position.
“The government must act against the accused, no matter what their political affiliation is. The government must also initiate action against NAFED vice-chairman Dilip Sanghani, a former BJP MP and former agriculture minister. Why is the government protecting him,” asked Doshi.
However, Agriculture Minister R C Faldu questioned Boda’s resignation, asking the Congress to clarify.
“Boda was a Congress leader. Today, he resigned from the party. What is the meaning of this? Congress should clarify,” the minister, said adding that the name of Boda’s nephew has also “emerged” in the controversy.
“We have also sent a report to the Union Agriculture Ministry regarding all that is happening. We have also told the ministry how NAFED has irresponsibly conducted groundnut procurement in the state,” Faldu said adding that senior officials of NAFED were briefed about the shortcomings on Thursday.
On the Congress demand for a SIT probe monitored by the High Court, the minister said, “The CID-Crime, which is the investigating the case, is progressing in the right direction. If any lacuna arises, we will think about it then.”
(With PTI inputs)
with the Express Morning Briefing