Rajasthan Minister of State for Khadi and Village Industries Golma Devi and her husband, Member of Parliament from Dausa Kirorilal Meena, continued their dharna outside the Civil Lines railway crossing here for the third day on Saturday. After the first night's attempt to mollify the couple, miffed at the district authorities in Udaipur turning away Dr. Meena and scuttling his efforts to reach the Adivasi villages in South Rajasthan, the State government did not initiate any fresh moves to approach them.
There were only a few supporters around the place during the day as they sat quietly. Both Ms. Golma Devi and Dr. Meena are Independent members elected to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha respectively.
However, there was some action in the afternoon as Ms. Devi, angry with an unresponsive Chief Minister, left the place for the Gandhi Nagar area in the city to leave her official car at the residence of Minister of State for Motor Garage Bharosi Lal Jatav.
“I don't want to keep the car any more,” she told media persons outside the residence of Mr. Jatav after handing over the keys and a letter to the personnel there. From there she went back to the dharna site in her personal vehicle. Asked whether her returning the official vehicle meant she was quitting as Minister, Ms. Devi said her resignation had been pending.
The Minister's reference was to a letter she reportedly sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi as far back as in 2009 protesting against the administration's ill-treatment of her husband. Ms. Gandhi apparently did not take any action on the said letter and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot never accepted any knowledge of it.
Asked for his comment, PCC president and Union Minister for Surface Transport and Highways C.P. Joshi conceded that the State government had to put up with such situations as the party did not have a full majority on its own. “The Minister should have realised that it is a collective responsibility. In case there was any problem, she could have brought it to the notice of the Chief Minister,” he observed.
Mr. Jatav refused to take any responsibility for the vehicle left outside his residence. “I am not the one who is to take care of the vehicle,” he was heard saying as the official driver of Ms. Devi volunteered to leave the car at the State Motor Garage.