Fit and dine: MLAs belonging to the Gehlot camp enjoy Yoga and cooking sessions at Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur

11:21 PM Jul 18, 2020 | Sangeeta Pranvendra

Raj paying the price: Raje breaks silence

Friday's high-voltage drama over the Rajasthan political crisis turned into a game of exchanging volleys on Saturday, with the Congress and the BJP targeting each other.


The day saw former chief minister Vasundhara Raje breaking her silence on the development. Raje, who had been accused of quietly helping Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, said the people of Rajasthan were the ultimate sufferers due to the fallout between the CM and his former deputy Sachin Pilot.


“At a time when locusts are attacking farmers’ fields, crimes against women are at an all time high, when there is a problem of electricity across the state, there is no point in trying to drag BJP and its leaders' names in the mud. Think of the people,” she said in a message posted on Twitter.

The former CM went on to add: Some people are trying to spread falsehoods without knowing any facts . I am serving the people for the last 30 years as a committed party worker. I stand with the party and its ideology."

The reaction follows immense speculations about her silence and distancing from the affairs of BJP in Rajasthan. It also came a day after the party leadership reprimanded Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal for alleging that Raje was helping Gehlot save his government.

Former Assembly speaker and the senior-most BJP legislator Kailash Meghwal joined the match by trashing the horse-trading charges. Meghwal said the crisis was the result of an internal conflict within the Congress. He said, “In my entire career I have been associated with BJP and the party is known for moral values. I feel that practising politics while ignoring moral values is not correct. I also condemn any efforts at trying to topple a democratically elected government.”

Meghwal said the BJP in the state does not have a line to follow and each leader is doing what they feel like. "Vasundhara Raje should be urged to attend meetings. The party should use Vasundhara’s experience.”

Demand for CBI probe

More BJP leaders slammed the Congress. "Is the phone of every person in Rajasthan, who has any concern with politics, is being tapped? Is Emergency not being imposed indirectly in Rajasthan?," asked BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra in a press conference on Saturday. He was referring to the purported phone conversations that were leaked by the Gehlot camp. Patra demanded a CBI probe into the episode.

On her part, BJP MP from Rajsamand Diya Kumari blamed "internal strife" in the Congress for the continuing war of supremacy within the ruling party in Rajasthan.

Congress retorts

Congress leader Pawan Khera hit back at the BJP, saying that the latter's misdeeds in Rajasthan are all exposed now.

Addressing a press conference, through video conference in the national capital, he said, "We all witnessed the daylight murder of democracy in Rajasthan. We all have seen that not only the new links but direct links of BJP are coming up in the state, exposing the party."

Pointing to Sambit Patra's media address, Khera said, "The BJP in its press conference admitted to murdering democracy. Its only grievance was while they were murdering democracy they got recorded. But was that recording legal? It is like saying when a witness sees a murderer committing the crime, the later goes to the police asking whether the former did not violate my privacy."

Earlier in the day Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasara, health minister Raghu Sharma and transport minister Pratap Singh accused the BJP of confining their party MLAs in Manesar against their will. Dotasara said, “Haryana police had stopped the Rajasthan SOG [Special Operations Group] team till they whisked away the MLAs through a backdoor. Why do Sachin Pilot and other MLAs have more faith in Haryana police than their own state? The kind of security being given to these MLAs is much more than what is given to VIPs.”

Sharma said, “We will prove the majority on the floor of the house. We have more numbers than needed for the majority. I tell the BJP; if you believe in democracy set them free. They are desperate to come to our fold.”

Maya for President's rule

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said on Saturday that Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra should take cognisance of the instability in the state and recommend President's Rule. CM Ashok Gehlot, she said, had openly violated the Anti-Defection law and cheated the BSP for a second time by getting its MLAs included in the Congress.

"And it is also evident he did an illegal and unconstitutional thing by phone tapping," Mayawati said in a series of tweets in Hindi. "The governor (of Rajasthan) must take cognisance of the political deadlock and instability prevailing in Rajasthan, and should recommend imposition of President's Rule in the state, so that the condition of democracy in the state does not deteriorate," she said.

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