Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday accused the BJP of using a Muslim leader in an attempt to topple his government while ignoring the community when it comes to fielding election candidates. He made the charge while accusing 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.
Gehlot said not one ticket was given to Muslim candidates during the last assembly elections in the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and yet, he added, “A Muslim was being used to bring down the government." But he did not elaborate on the MP’s alleged role during the attempt to “destabilise" his government earlier this year.
The chief minister alleged that union ministers Amit Shah, Dharmendra Pradhan and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat were among those involved in the conspiracy to destabilise the state’s Congress government. Addressing a press conference here, Gehlot claimed he has proof that the state BJP leadership was also involved.
Replying to another question on Pilot’s rebellion, the CM said, Forget and forgive. The Congress leadership in Delhi intervened to patch up the differences between the two factions after Pilot and 18 other MLAs rebelled.
The BJP has in the past rejected the charge against it, saying the Gehlot was blaming the opposition for a problem within the ranks of his own party. Gehlot had called the press conference Friday to highlight the achievements of his government in the last two years.
AICC general secretary Ajay Maken, Pradesh Congress Committee president Govind Singh Dotasra and state ministers were also present. Reacting to the claim that his government has not fulfilled the election promise of waiving farm loans, Gehlot said the opposition is misleading people.
He said loans from cooperative and land development banks have been waived but the nationalised banks are under the Reserve Bank of India, and asked why the Centre doesn’t intervene in this. He said the state government has even offered to shell out 50 per cent of the amount involved in waivers by nationalised banks.
He accused the BJP government at the Centre not caring about the concerns of farmers who are protesting against the farm laws. Dotasra said the party will begin on Monday a Kisan Samvad programme of meetings with farmers across the state.