Former Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vasundhara Raje countered Ashok Gehlot’s claims, saying Rajasthan Chief Minister is lying out of fear of losing the 2023 Assembly elections and his false allegations show he is rattled by the rebellion in state Congress unit.
Targeting rivals within Congress, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot credited former chief minister Vasundhara Raje and two other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for having helped him save his government during the 2020 crisis when some Congress MLAs revolted and tried to topple his government. Vasundhara Raje said, “Gehlot’s statement against me is a conspiracy. Nobody can insult me as much as Gehlot has done. He is lying out of fear of losing the 2023 Assembly elections and has made such false allegations as he is rattled by the rebellion in his own party”.
Addressing a programme in Dholpur on Sunday, Gehlot divulged that the 2020 crisis was conspired by Union Ministers of the BJP government and claimed that Vasundhara Raje, former Assembly Speaker Kailash Meghwal and MLA Shobharani Kushwaha were not in favour of toppling the elected Congress government.
Gehlot said, “Former Chief Ministers of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje Scindia, Shobha Rani and Kailash Meghwal knew their party people were toppling the government. Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Kailash Meghwal had said that it has never been our tradition to topple the elected government on the basis of money. They did not support those who toppled the government due to which our government survived.”
Targeting rivals within the party, CM Gehlot said he had requested the MLAs, who revolted to return the money they had taken from the BJP so that they could perform without any pressure.
“Amit Shah, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Gajendra Shekhawat conspired together and distributed the money inside the Rajasthan government. I advised our MLAs (who revolted) that even if some of the money taken has been spent by them, they should inform us. I will give you money and tell AICC, but don’t take BJP’s money. If you will keep their money, they will scare you later, threaten you… They took away 25 MLAs. Amit Shah plays a very dangerous game, give his money back,” Gehlot said while exposing the BJP’s gameplan of toppling his government.
Ashok Gehlot in July 2020 had accused the BJP of trying to overthrow his government by offering Congress lawmakers bribes but the BJP denied any involvement.
The Gehlot and Pilot feud has been simmering since before 2020 and Pilot was sacked as deputy CM and removed as state unit chief.
Pilot again opened a fresh front against Gehlot, his old political rival within the party, alleging that the state government failed to investigate cases of alleged corruption during the Bharatiya Janata Party rule in Rajasthan and announced his plan to hold a day-long fast on April 11 to demand action.
The Congress party called a meeting to resolve the situation regarding Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress leader Sachin Pilot, party sources confirmed.
The fresh crisis has emerged months before the assembly polls in the state due late this year.
Pilot is seen as a chief ministerial aspirant but Gehlot, who did not contest the Congress presidential election, is apparently keen not to hand over the reins of the state to him.
The differences between the two had come out sharply in 2020 with Pilot leading a “rebellion” against Gehlot.
The two leaders have taken potshots at each other on several occasions in the past.