Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Friday that the BJP doesn’t give tickets to Muslims during elections but uses them to topple governments.
Gehlot made this point while mentioning BJP Rajya Sabha MP Syed Zafar Islam of being involved in alleged horse-trading during the revolt in July by a group of Congress MLAs led by former deputy CM Sachin Pilot.
“When we held a meeting here with our MLAs during the time of the crisis, our friends were raided by the ED and income tax. See the level of planning that they did to topple the government. They must have made a map, done a recce, briefed officials, made bookings, you can imagine. They used all weapons…Dharmendra Pradhan and Zafar Islam,” he said during at a press conference held in Jaipur to mark the two years of the Congress government in the state.
While Gehlot addressed the press conference, Pilot was visiting Bharatpur to pay tributes to former ruler Maharaja Suraj Mal on his death anniversary. Some of his loyalist MLAs who had sided with him during the political crisis were also present with him.
“A new Zafar Islam has been born in this country. The BJP doesn’t give tickets to Muslims. In UP there are around 400 tickets distributed, in Bihar, it’s around 250. The BJP doesn’t give a single ticket to Muslims. And (they are) using Muslims for toppling governments,” Gehlot added.
Gehlot referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to a gathering at the Aligarh Muslim University earlier this week and praised it before adding, “One ticket, at least give just for show. But not that too…Where have they brought democracy?”
Gehlot also accused Union ministers Amit Shah and Dharmendra Pradhan, along with ‘four other leaders from Rajasthan’ of efforts to destabilise his government.
“One is a Union minister, whose name had come on record…and three leaders are from here… All of them were involved in it…I have proof. They called our leaders and talked, the MLAs who were with us, independents. These people were taking part in the talks, these leaders from Rajasthan who are called BJP president, leader of opposition, deputy leader of opposition. They were all involved. The game was very big. With your blessings the government strongly overcame it,” said Gehlot.
He added that his government will remain strong during its remaining three years.
During the political crisis, the Congress had accused Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and had claimed that his voice was heard in an audio in which some persons were allegedly heard plotting to topple the Rajasthan government. Shekhawat had strongly refuted the allegations back then.
Gehlot said that four Chief Ministers of the Congress party wanted to meet the President but the meeting couldn’t happen.
“Four Chief Ministers of this country want to meet the President. There must be huge pressure on the President that he couldn’t meet even though he wanted. This is my guess…We have been seeing for 40 years that we go to submit memorandums to every President. He would offer us tea, we talk a bit…Ultimately he has to decide…But not meeting us at all, this I have seen for the first time,” said Gehlot.
Speaking on the farm laws passed by the Congress government in Rajasthan to counter the three farm legislations by the Centre, Gehlot said that the Governor is not forwarding them further.
“Our honorary Governor is not sending these bills further. Why is he not forwarding them? I had made laws against Honour Killing and Mob Lynching six months ago, the President is not approving them, maybe because the Government of India doesn’t want. This is a challenge made by them to democracy. Rahul Gandhi ji has correctly said that now there is no democracy in the country, only a show of democracy,” said Gehlot.
The CM said that his government has waived off farm loans of farmers. Gehlot added that it waived farm loans from cooperative banks and land development banks but since nationalised, commercial and regional rural banks come under the administrative control of the Union Finance Ministry, the Rajasthan government has sent a proposal of a one-time settlement to the Centre.
Gehlot added that for this he has also written letters to the Prime Minister and Union Finance Minister and has also proposed that the cost be shared between the Rajasthan government and the Centre in a ration of 50:50.
Responding to a question about the rebellion of Pilot, Gehlot said that all he has to say on the entire episode is ‘forget and forgive’.
Answering to a question about the fact that most boards and commissions in the state are functioning without chairpersons/heads Gehlot cited back to back elections resulting in implementation of model code of conduct and the Covid-19 pandemic for delay in the appointments. He added that the appointments will be made soon.
Gehlot said that if there was one regret in his tenure of two years, it’s because of the illegal business of sand which has resulted in people being murdered and more corrupt along with the rise of sand mining mafia. He said that he hopes the matter, which is at present in the Supreme Court, is sorted soon, which can enable mining of sand and help to get rid of the mafia. The government will also get revenue from legal sand mining, said Gehlot.
The Chief Minister said that within two years, his government has fulfilled half of the promises made in the Congress manifesto.
AICC General Secretary and Rajasthan Congress in-charge Ajay Maken was also present along with other ministers of the state and state Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra.