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BJP ‘fully supports’ Raje

The Chief Minister's Office said the Chief Minister never asked or made any call to MLAs to show their strength and support.

The BJP on Friday asserted that it “fully supports” Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is engulfed in the Lalit Modi controversy, rejecting Opposition demands for her resignation.

As the Congress upped the ante pressing for Ms. Raje’s removal, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here, “BJP fully supports Vasundhara Raje who is our tallest leader in Rajasthan. Congress is targeting our popular leaders and we stand by her.”

Mr. Sharma’s assertion came after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Jaitley, who on Thursday said that “nobody is tainted”, is understood to have discussed various aspects of the raging controversy including the legal implications and the political fallout.

The Finance Minister later had a meeting with BJP president Amit Shah and is believed to have deliberated upon the party’s strategy to brazen out the massive row involving Ms. Raje as well as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Changing its tack on Friday, the party said even if Ms. Raje had backed the immigration appeal of Lalit Modi, former IPL chairman, she had not testified in court on his behalf and hence the Opposition criticism of her supporting a man wanted for financial crimes in India was “misplaced”.

“Did she go and depose there (in the UK)? No. There was no action that finally took place of her behalf,” said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli, adding that Ms. Raje’s statement was made in 2011 “in her personal capacity, not in her capacity as Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan.”

In Jaipur, Raje’s office for the second consecutive day dismissed media reports including that of a signature campaign by 120 party MLAs in her support.

In a statement, CMO spokesman said the Chief Minister holds “jansunwai” (public hearing) at her residence every Friday, and for this many MLAs come with the public of their constituency for putting forward their problems and demands.

“Similarly today, the CM is holding public hearing in which MLAs and party workers are meeting”, the spokesman said.

“The news of signature by 120 MLAs (in her support) is completely wrong. It is not fair to link public hearing with a different view”, he said.

The CMO said the Chief Minister never asked or made any call to MLAs to show their strength and support.

The Chief Minister’s Press Advisor had said last night that “false” reports were being run on the basis of “rumours” to tarnish her image and cause “political damage“.

The Chief Minister is in the dock for reportedly giving an affidavit in favour of Lalit Modi, who is facing ED probe into alleged money laundering in connection with organising of IPL tournament.

Lalit Modi has made London his home ever since the probe began in 2010.

The CMO said today that some channels were still broadcasting “baseless and untrue” news.

“The Chief Minister has not made any such statements shown in TV news channels. Some media channels were running news to tarnish the political image of Chief Minister”, he said.

A number of the Chief Minister’s cabinet colleagues including R S Rathore, Yunus Khan, Krishnendra Kaur Deepa and MLAs, and state BJP President Ashok Parnami were present during the hearing, the press advisor told PTI.

Media persons were not allowed access to the public hearing, the advisor said.

Hitting back at the opposition over its demand for Raje’s resignation, Rajasthan BJP President Ashok Parnami asked whether former CM Ashok Gehlot had tendered his resignation on corruption charges levelled by his own MLAs.

“With what face Ashok Gehlot is demanding resignation of CM Vasundhara Raje when he did not resign on the corruption charges levelled by his own MLAs and rape cases in which his two ministers and MLA were allegedly involved”, Parnami said in a statement here.

Cong alleges quid pro quo in MoU with Lalit Modi

Earlier, mounting pressure for resignation of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Congress alleged a “quid pro quo” in a MoU between her government and tainted former IPL boss Lalit Modi for setting up a cancer hospital in Jaipur.

Congress also rejected any “links” between Lalit Modi and the Gandhi family after BJP made the allegation seizing on a tweet by the former IPL Commissioner that he had “run into” Priyanka Gandhi and Robert Vadra in a London restaurant. It termed ‘Lalitgate’ as an index of “Gujarat model” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Alleging that Lalit Modi was working at the behest of BJP to divert attention to “non-issues”, the party released a copy of a MoU between Rajasthan government and Lalit Modi in October regarding the cancer hospital, saying it’s a case of public money being “sloshed for crony gratification” in a ’quid pro quo’

Facing Opposition heat over help extended by Ms. Raje and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Lalit Modi regarding his travel documents in the U.K., the BJP latched on to his tweet and alleged links between him and the Gandhi family.

Rejecting the allegation, Congress chief spokesperson Randip Surjewala said, “Looking into each other is neither improper nor a crime by any strength of imagination. There was no social interaction of any nature between Lalit Modi and Robert Vadra or Priyanka Gandhi.”

He said that instead of “diverting attention”, let the government answer the “pointed questions on corruption and quid pro quo of the help” given by a Union Minister and a Chief Minister to a “fugitive” of Indian law, who is named in crimes committed under FEMA, IPC .

Senior leader and party spokesperson CP Joshi wondered what is there to clarify when Lalit Modi had himself said that he had run into Robert and Priyanka.

“This is not allegation. You are taking inference out it. What is to clarify when Lalit Modi has already clarified? It is a coincidence. What can anybody do if some one appears before some one in a restaurant?” Mr. Joshi said.

When pressed further, he said who is he to give a clean chit to anybody when the statement of Lalit is itself sufficient.

“Did Priyanka go to meet him? He had run into them,” Mr. Joshi said reiterating the demand for resignation of Ms. Swaraj and Ms. Raje over the Lalit Modi row.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 1:26:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lalit-modi-visa-controversy-bjp-fully-supports-rajasthan-chief-minister-vasundhara-raje/article7358290.ece

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