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BJP trying to topple my govt but it is stable and will complete five-year term: Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday accused the opposition BJP of trying to topple his government by offering his legislators large sums of money and said his administration is not just stable but will complete its five-year term.

PTI | Jaipur | Updated: 11-07-2020 17:01 IST | Created: 11-07-2020 17:01 IST
BJP trying to topple my govt but it is stable and will complete five-year term: Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday accused the opposition BJP of trying to topple his government by offering his legislators large sums of money and said his administration is not just stable but will complete its five-year term. Gehlot alleged at a press conference that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were unable to “tolerate” him or his government and were therefore planning a conspiracy. Rejecting Gehlot’s allegations, BJP’ state president Satish Poonia said the political situation in the state was the result of infighting in the Congress and the chief minister was just trying to shift the blame. "BJP leaders are playing the game at the behest of Central leaders. MLAs were offered money... Rs 10 crore in advance and Rs 15 crore after the government is toppled," the chief minister claimed, a charge denied by the BJP.

He added that BJP leaders were murdering democracy and wanted to do politics like in a goat market, “bakra-mandi”, where goats and bought and sold. Stepping up the attack against the BJP, the chief minister also named Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria, Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore and BJP state president Poonia and claimed they were carrying out the agenda of the party's central leadership.

“The chief minister did not talk logically in his press conference. It is their own infighting but he wants to blame BJP. He is a veteran leader of Congress and his pain is justified because in the Congress has shrunk in the country,” Poonia said in response. “He talked about a ‘bakra-mandi’. How can he talk like this…. If he so confident, why did he have to confine MLAs to a resort for several days ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections?” he added. However, Gehlot exuded confidence that his government will ride any crisis and said his government had begun preparations for winning the next assembly elections.

“The government in Rajasthan is stable, will remain stable and will last five years,” the senior Congress leader said. “The government is delivering governance, presenting budgets in that direction,” he said. Gehlot was asked whether the alleged efforts to weaken his party were happening because of two groups in the Congress – one led by him and the other by his deputy Sachin Pilot. “There may be five-seven leaders here who could be the claimant for chief minister's post. They may also have capabilities but when a chief minister is appointed, such talks get over and peace prevails,” he said in response.

According to the chief minister, attempts were made to poach MLAs ahead of last month's Rajya Sabha elections as well but this time the effort seemed to be bigger and more organised. During the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, he said he had invited opposition party leaders and others and taken them into confidence before taking decisions. But BJP leaders had gone “beyond humanity” and got involved in destablising his government, which he said was shameful. “Our focus should have been completely on combating the corona crisis which we have been doing but now we have to struggle to save the government,” he said.

Citing the examples of Goa, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, the chief minister said the BJP is trying to play similar games in Rajasthan too. He said it was unfortunate that horse trading is done in Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, and claimed that Rajasthan has no such history. Congress leaders have “integrity”, he asserted. “If any of our MLAs, who won elections on Congress ticket and were given various posts including ministerial portfolios by the party, turns out to be a traitor, the public will not forgive him,” he said.

The chief minister said the Special Operations Group of Rajasthan police has issued him notice for recording statements. “No one, be it a chief minister or prime minister, is above the law. I have received the notice of SOG. The investigating agency will do its job and we will cooperate in it,” he said.

The chief minister said the investigation will reveal everything and truth will prevail. “There is no alternative to the truth,” he said.

Gehlot said that Congress leaders have protected democracy for 70 years but this changed after 2014 when the BJP came to power at the Centre. Gehlot’s press conference came a day after the SOG registered a case for alleged attempts to topple his government. The SOG has detained two persons, whose calls were intercepted in connection with the matter. SOG has issued notices to the chief minister, the deputy chief minister and the government’s chief whip Mahesh Joshi for recording their statements.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau is also set to take action in the matter under the Prevention of Corruption Act. In the 200-member assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the support of 13 independent MLAs and two CPI(M), two Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) and one RLD..


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