Lalitgate National

No audience with PM, Shah for Raje

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje arriving to attend the NITI Aayogmeeting in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: vishal singh royalexpeditions

The support extended by the Bharatiya Janata Party to Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje falls short of the sort of endorsement it has offered to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. On Saturday, after attending NITI Aayog deliberations, she returned to Jaipur without meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP president Amit Shah. Reports suggest she had cancelled a trip to London to make it to the capital.

With TV channels reporting that Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah had refused to give her an appointment, Ms. Raje’s office in Jaipur put out an official statement denying these reports. “Request media to kindly cross-check facts. CM was in Delhi solely for the NITI Aayog meeting. She returned to Jaipur for there were no prior appointments,” the statement said.

The former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi appeared to be trying to reach out to the Prime Minister, after the BJP said it would seek an Interpol “red corner notice” against him. He tweeted: “Our PM is most savvy man. He does not need my advice. When he bats he will hit the ball out of the park. #respect only.” But as the government kept a low profile on the row, the RSS organ Organiser trained its guns at the Congress, with an article saying the revelations demand more explanations from the UPA government as the main scandal took place under the previous regime.

Supporting Raje difficult for BJP

BJP insiders say the party leadership is in a dilemma on how to deal with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over the issue of support to the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

The revelations thus far about the business association she and her son, Dushyant Singh, had with Mr. Lalit Modi deter them from coming out in full defence of her. The fear of destabilising the Rajasthan government stops them from sacking her.

So, though party sources said the top leadership had decided to accept Ms. Raje’s defence in the controversy after a meeting the Prime Minister had with party president Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday, none of them chose to discuss the issue with her when she was here.

On Friday, the Rajasthan unit of the BJP had stressed that that the document Ms. Raje signed in support of Mr. Lalit Modi’s immigration application to the U.K. government had never been produced in court. It claimed that Mr. Modi’s investment in a chain of hotels owned by Mr. Dushyant Singh was legal and had been disclosed to the authorities.

The Congress, of course, is keeping up the pressure on the BJP to sack all four leaders accused of wrongdoing — Ms. Raje, Ms. Swaraj, Union Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani and Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde.

Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar said on Saturday, “If the Prime Minister is helpless in securing the resignations, he should tell people about his failure to ensure zero tolerance to corruption and offer his resignation.”

Training its guns on the Congress, the RSS organ Organiser said in an article that the “resurfacing of Lalitgate has provided a golden opportunity for all the political parties to clean the mess in cricket once and for all”.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 4:11:58 PM |

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