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Ajit Pawar blames his ouster on Cong

The irrigation scam directed against him is an attempt to divert attention from the 'coal scam', the former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said on Sunday. Addressing his first public rally after resigning as the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, Pawar said that the irrigation issue was a conspiracy against the Nationalist Congress Party [NCP].

'There is an attempt to [malign us],' Pawar told the gathering at Akole near Ahmednagar.

Pawar, 53, abruptly quit the cabinet last week amid allegations that he had arbitrarily doled out irrigation contracts worth over Rs 20,000 crore as the state water resources minister between 1999 and 2009.

Lashing out at those behind 'the defamation campaign' and refuting allegations against him, Pawar insisted that he had quit on his own after the allegations were hurled. 'Nobody sought my resignation, but I offered it on my own,' he said. He added that he resigned to ensure a 'fair inquiry' into the irrigation scam.
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