July 24, 2020 4:15:14 am
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Thursday said that an Assembly session will be called soon, adding that his government would prove its majority even if the rebel Congress MLAs stay away.
Speaking to reporters here, he also said the audio clips that had surfaced with purported conversations around toppling his government could be sent abroad for verification, if there were doubts about the investigation that was on here. The Special Operations Group of the Rajasthan Police is looking into the matter.
Saying that the rebel MLAs, led by former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, had “lost their way”, Gehlot said, “Those being held hostage there (at a hotel in Haryana), guarded by bouncers, they are calling, (asking) how do we get out. They are unable to leave.
I hope that when they come, several of them will vote, but (even without them) we have a majority and, on the basis of that majority, we will go to the House and prove our majority.”
Hours after saying that the Assembly session will be called soon, the CM met Governor Kalraj Mishra at Raj Bhawan.
Raising the issue of raids on people close to him, the CM said, “Earlier, when there were raids, one came to know only later. Now, the situation is, there are hints three-four days in advance. And the raids happen accordingly. We are not going to tremble, and neither will our mission stop. We are (opposing) policies of the BJP, its programmes and its principles are ruining the nation. (They are) fascists, murdering democracy.”
Gehlot said his administration was ready to send the audio tapes under probe to a “fabulous” forensic science laboratory in the US for tests, if the Rajasthan government, its lab or Delhi is not trusted.
Hinting at Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who has been named by the Congress as one of the people in the tapes, the CM said those being investigated should give their voice samples. “Why are they not doing so?” Public representatives give so many addresses, Gehlot said, and so “everyone knows it is his voice, the world agrees, the state agrees, the public agrees”.
Gehlot claimed that the Congress would overcome. While the party’s strength had fallen drastically in the Lok Sabha, he said, “the Congress and Congress-men, spirit of the Congress (are) in every home. And the wise people, be it in the BJP or any other party, know that the Congress should remain strong. Governments will come and go, but we do politics with the thought that the strength of the Congress is the strength of the nation.”
The CM accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of showmanship over the coronavirus, even as his party schemed to topple Opposition governments, in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka before that, during the pandemic. Gehlot said that in Rajasthan, he himself had been meeting MLAs and MPs, including of opposing parties, as well as religious leaders and doctors, to tackle the virus. Hence, he said, people would not forgive attempts to overthrow his government.
About why he had written a letter to Modi on the matter, the CM said he wanted to ensure that the PM later couldn’t say he was not aware or was only half-aware.
Asked whether the Rajasthan developments, with different parties filing separate pleas in different courts, indicated a growing clash between constitutional bodies, Gehlot said, “We respect the judiciary the most. We never interfere with it, and think neither should anyone else. The judiciary is where anyone, poor or rich, can seek justice. How will the country be saved if faith is lost in the judiciary?”
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