Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot triggered a controversy on Wednesday by saying that Ram Nath Kovind was elected as President before the Gujarat Assembly polls in 2017 to balance caste equations.
“Log to yahaan tak kehte hai ki, Ram Nath Kovind, Rashtrapati ji jo Ram Nath ji Kovind jo hai, Rashtrapati Kovind ji ka jo chunav hua… kal hi main ek article padh raha tha, ki kyunki chunav Gujarat ke aa rahe the, wo pehle ghabra chuke the ki hamari sarkar Gujarat me nahi banne ja rahi hai (People even say that President Ram Nath Kovind’s election…Yesterday I was reading an article that it was because the Gujarat elections were approaching and they were worried that they would not come to power in Gujarat),” Gehlot told reporters in Jaipur on Wednesday.
“Amit Shah’s tactics were seen one after another. I believe he must have suggested that Ram Nath Kovind be made the President to balance caste equations and Advani sahab was left out,” said Gehlot, adding that these were not his personal comments but that he read this in an article. He later issued a clarification, saying that he was “misquoted”.
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Meanwhile, the BJP demanded an apology from Gehlot and accused the Congress of an “anti-Dalit mindset”. The party urged the Election Commission to take cognizance of the matter and sought action against the Rajasthan CM. “Gehlot is speaking the language of Congress president Rahul Gandhi who is suffering from anti-Dalit, anti-poor and anti-backward mindset,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.