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Punjab tremors in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot OSD quits over tweet

The tweet appeared to refer to a strong person being made helpless and a mediocre person being elevated.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur |
Updated: September 20, 2021 8:31:25 am
Punjab crisis, rajashtan OSD, amarinder singh, lokesh sharma, Ashok GehlotLokesh Sharma (Twitter/Lokesh Sharma)

THE PUNJAB political crisis had an impact on the Rajasthan government, with Lokesh Sharma — the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot — tendering his resignation over a tweet that was seen as questioning the party high command’s decision to replace Amarinder Singh.

On Saturday, hours before Singh’s resignation, Sharma had tweeted: “Mazboot ko majboor, mamuli ko maghroor kiya jaye…badh hi khet ko khaye, us fasal ko kaun bachaye!! (The strong are being made to feel helpless, the ordinary are encouraged to feel arrogant… Who can save the crop when the fence itself destroys the field)?”

As some Twitter users interpreted Sharma’s tweet as questioning the decision of the Congress high command in Punjab, Sharma sent his resignation letter to Chief Minister Gehlot late on Saturday, writing, “My tweet from today is being connected with the events in Punjab, after being given political colour and interpreted wrongly.”

Sharma also said that he was apologising in case his tweet hurt the sentiments of the party, the government and the high command as it was not his intention to do so.

When The Indian Express reached out to Sharma, he declined to comment further, and cited the contents of his resignation letter for reference.

A decision on Sharma’s resignation letter is yet to be taken, said sources.

This, however, is not 45-year-old’s first brush with controversy.

During the political crisis in the state last year, Sharma, as OSD (communications) to Gehlot, faced BJP allegations of being complicit in conspiring and circulating allegedly fake audio recordings of BJP leaders.

Earlier this year, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had lodged an FIR with the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police, listing Sharma as an accused in connection with the alleged tapping of phones during the political crisis in Rajasthan.

Thereafter, the Delhi High Court had prohibited the Delhi Police from taking any coercive action against Sharma until further orders. In July this year, the Delhi Police summoned Sharma in relation to the phone tapping case. Sharma had replied to the summons but didn’t go to Delhi.

Sharma, who was associated with the National Student Union of India, the student wing of the Congress, in the 90s and also held the posts of state general secretary and spokesperson of the student outfit, was elevated to the role of media coordinator in the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee in the mid-2000s.

He has been associated with Gehlot since 2012.

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