A day after Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was embroiled in the Lalit Modi storm, the Opposition Congress passed a resolution in a meeting in Udaipur Wednesday demanding her resignation as well as that of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Rajasthan Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot told reporters that the Congress sought an immediate step down by Raje and Swaraj. Former CM Ashok Gehlot slammed Raje for her ties with Modi over corrupt dealings and said, “The Raje-Modi alliance was very well-known in the state during her previous stint. That brought disrepute to the state,” Gehlot said. “Without her tacit support, it would not have been possible for anyone (Modi) to govern from Rambagh Hotel like that.”
The state unit of Congress is slated to gherao the CM residence on Thursday, if she does not step down by then.
Apart from a few feeble defenses by the official spokespersons of the state BJP, Raje’s camp kept mum over the issue. BJP state president Ashok Parnami maintained that the papers that have come up have no authenticity as Raje had herself clarified on Tuesday night. Parnami alleged political conspiracy against Raje.
In defence of the MoU signed by the state government with Lisbon-based Champalimaud Foundation, where Modi’s wife is being treated for cancer, to set up a cancer research institute in Jaipur, Health Minister Rajendra Rathore said he took full responsibility for the deal. “We had set up a team to zero in on cancer speciality institutes to come up with a low-cost center for the state and Champalimaud Foundation, known for its good work was the unanimous choice. There was no other consideration. We did not know about anything else,” Rathore maintained.
Raje, on her part, went on with business as usual on Wednesday, even as rumours were abuzz that she had called the BJP national president Amit Shah to explain her ties with Lalit Modi. Raje’s office flatly denied any such communication with the party headquarters.