Ashok Gehlot’s Rajasthan Deja Vu As Maharashtra Crisis Unravels

Ashok Gehlot weathered the storm for almost a month but managed to save his government.(FILE)

New Delhi:

Even as the Maharashtra government faces a crisis, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said the BJP tried to bribe Congress legislators in his state too, offering them Rs 10 crore each, but they continued to support him and did not let his government fall.

The oblique reference, apparently, was to former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, who had holed up in a resort in Gurugram last year along with some party MLAs in an attempt to flip them to his side, but failed to topple the government.

Mr Gehlot weathered the storm for almost a month but managed to save his government.

“They are conspiracies being hatched to destroy the democracy in the country. We have been saying repeatedly that the Constitution is being blown to tatters and democracy is in danger. And what more proof does one want after Madhya Pradesh government was captured?” Mr Gehlot told media at the party headquarters in Delhi.

“We are hearing Rs 35 crore is being given to each MLA. There are reports of 25 crore, 30 crore, and 35 crore rupees being given for each MLA,” he said.

“In Rajasthan, 10 crore rupees were distributed to MLAs. I don’t know what happened and the manner in which they were offered money when they were lodged in the hotel, but I am proud that my MLAs stood by me for 34 days and took nothing from them even though they were in the hotel,” the Chief Minister said.

“The moment they came out, they were offered Rs 10 crore each as first installment and still no one went. You have seen how we won three Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan,” he said without naming Mr Pilot.

Commenting on the political drama unfolding in Maharashtra, Mr Gehlot said he is hearing that some MLAs have been lodged in Surat in Gujarat, and wondered about the centre’s role in the tussle.

“When there is high inflation and unemployment and the country’s economy is being demolished, the BJP is sending Enforcement D notices to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, bringing schemes like Agnipath to mislead the youth. What exactly do you want?” he said.

Mr Gehlot said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come forward and appeal the people to maintain “peace and harmony” and issues strict warning against use of violence. But this is not happening, he said.

“What is the harm in saying so? The opposition is asking, I, as a chief minister, am asking, but I don’t understand why he is hesitant. He does not say it, nor does Home Minister Amit Shah say it,” he said.

Mr Gehlot said how the country can develop when there is “disquiet and violence and when people are fighting.” “In Maharashtra, you are seeing what is happening… They are attempting to make the government fall in Maharashtra and it has become wide open before the world.

“They indulged in such a conspiracy and how they did it and how horse trading of MLAs was done, only they would know what kind of deals are happening,” he said.

Asked if such attempts are being made in Rajasthan too, Mr Gehlot said every state has different circumstances and they are doing new experiments and have been successful in some places.

“In Madhya Pradesh they were successful and we took some timely steps and behaved in a way that made us successful in thwarting their attempts,” he said.

The veteran Congressman said that the BJP had been waiting for an opportunity to topple the Maharashtra government, since their last unsuccessful attempt.

He termed the BJP’s alleged luring of Shiv Sena MLAs as “tamasha” and recalled the manner in which Devendra Fadnavis had taken oath as Chief Minister back in 2019 saying “Modi hai to mumkin hai” but had to step down only three days later after failing the floor test.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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