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Amit Shah sounds Rajasthan poll bugle from Ashok Gehlot turf: ‘Uproot him,’ tells party

BJP holds OBC session in Jodhpur; Gehlot also an OBC; party fared poorly in this area last time

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks during a BJP meeting in Jodhpur. (PTI)

With just over a year left for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Union Home Minister Amit Shah sounded the poll bugle from the home turf of Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, in Jodhpur Saturday.

Gehlot sarkar ko ukhadkar phaink dena hai (We have to uproot the Gehlot government),” Shah said, starting his address at a booth-level workers’ meeting, and urging BJP workers to take a pledge to make the party victorious.

Prior to the meeting, Shah presided over the valedictory session of a national meeting of the party’s OBC Morcha. Notably, Gehlot himself is a Mali, which falls under OBCs.

In the 2018 elections, the BJP had performed poorly in Jodhpur district and other areas of western Rajasthan. Shah also went to Jaisalmer as part of his visit to the state.

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The BJP is hoping to improve its performance in the region, which has a significant OBC population, and whom the party has been targeting.

“The kind of government that is functioning in Rajasthan, this government has left Rajasthan miles behind in the race for development,” said Shah, at the Jodhpur meeting.

Shah also praised the achievements and schemes of the previous BJP governments in Rajasthan, which had Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Vasundhara Raje at the helm.

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“Today, in the country, there are two Congress governments. Both have elections in 2023. If the BJP forms a government in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, then what will remain? Isn’t it a job worth doing? Brothers, sisters and workers of Marwar, tell me, will you hoist the saffron flag in 2023?” said Shah, to wide applause from the audience.

Shah added that the fact that despite the scorching heat in Jodhpur, 25,000 workers were sitting at the venue from 11 am to 3 pm, showed that the BJP was going to form the government.

“Rahul baba has embarked on a Bharat Jodo Yatra, wearing foreign jersey, foreign T-Shirt. Friends, I want to remind him and Congressis, a sentence from his speech at Parliament, ‘Bharat is not a nation’. Arrey Rahul baba, you have read this in which book? This is that nation, for which lakhs of people have sacrificed their own heads… This is that nation where thousands of sisters have committed jauhar, for honour and country… But this doesn’t seem like a country to you?” said Shah.

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The BJP leader added: “Gehlot saheb is from Jodhpur. I have come to his village and am saying that Gehlotji, listen carefully, I have come to remind you of your promises, the baseless promises that you made with Rahul baba. Five years are about to be completed, the BJP is asking for your hisab.”

Gehlot has earlier been a five-time MP from Jodhpur city. He is the sitting MLA from Sardarpura in the district.

Shah asked Gehlot what happened to his promise of waiving off farm loans within 10 days of coming to power and other announcements such as unemployment allowance. When the Vasundhara Raje government was voted out, unemployment in Rajasthan stood at 5.4 per cent, but under Gehlot it has increased to 32 per cent, he claimed.

Shah also criticised Gehlot for not reducing VAT on petrol, claiming that the highest-priced petrol and diesel were found in Rajasthan. After coming to power, the BJP will reduce tax and electricity prices, he said.

The Home Minister also said that the Gehlot government can’t do developmental work but can only do vote bank and appeasement politics and referred to recent communal incidents including the killing of Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur.

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Shah also accused the Congress of executing pre-planned riots in several places in the state and slammed the Gehlot government over the recent self-immolation of a seer who was protesting illegal mining in Bharatpur.

“In 2024, once again, all the seats from Rajasthan should be given to Modiji’s bag. Before 2024, there is 2023. In 2023, if (our) government is not formed, it doesn’t happen. If one has to win all the seats in 2024, then we will have to make a BJP government in 2023 with two-third majority,” said Shah.

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Shah was flanked by several BJP leaders of the state, including former CM Vasundhara Raje, state BJP president Satish Poonia, Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Kailash Choudhary.

In her speech, Raje compared the Gehlot government to Raavan raj, and accused it of ending various schemes launched by her. “During a fight, one should never underestimate the other person. We should not be under the impression that by sitting at home, we will form the government with tremendous majority… That is why, we all need to be united, make an empowered battle plan and have to try to implement it on the ground,” said Raje, who at the moment is trying to retain her grip in the state BJP.

First published on: 10-09-2022 at 08:42:18 pm
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