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Congress Chief Whip’s remarks against Shekhawat create a flutter

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat  

The remarks of Congress Chief Whip in Rajasthan Assembly Mahesh Joshi describing Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as a ‘fugitive’ created a flutter in the political circles here on Thursday. In its sharp reaction, the Opposition BJP said the ruling party’s leaders were touching a new low in politics in the State.

Mr. Joshi, who was summoned by the Delhi police crime branch to appear before it for questioning in a phone tapping case registered on Mr. Shekhawat’s complaint, said it was the Union Minister who was running away from giving voice samples to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) for a probe into the audio clips of conversation about toppling the State government last year.

“If Mr. Shekhawat is clean, then why is he running away? He is a fugitive on moral grounds. He should appear before the ACB and give his voice samples,” Mr. Joshi told reporters outside the PCC headquarters here. After his remarks, the Congress workers started shouting slogans against Mr. Shekhawat, calling him a ‘bhagoda’ (fugitive). Mr. Shekhawat is the Lok Sabha MP elected from Jodhpur.

Mr. Joshi has refused to appear before the crime branch in Delhi, saying he was not named in the FIR registered in March this year, while the matter related to the jurisdiction of the case was pending before a court in the national capital. He said the notice of the crime branch was “legally untenable” because no person above 65 years of age could be called to a police station for recording of statement.

The audio clips of alleged telephonic conversations between Mr. Shekhawat and Congress leaders had surfaced during the political crisis in July last year, when then Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, along with 18 MLAs supporting him, staged a rebellion. Mr. Joshi had lodged the cases with the ACB and the Special Operations Group of the Rajasthan police on the basis of the audio clips.

While the Congress leaders of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s camp alleged that the BJP leaders were indulging in horse-trading to topple the State government, the Delhi police registered the case on Mr. Shekhawat’s complaint against the Chief Minister’s OSD and others on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telegraphic signals.

StteBJP president Satish Poonia said Mr. Joshi's “indecent remarks” had shown that the Congress leaders, who had stooped to a new low, were not interested any more in ideological fights in politics. “No one becomes a fugitive [just] because of slogans. It is the frustration and guilty conscience of Congress which is coming to the fore,” Mr. Poonia said. (EOM)

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 10:05:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/congress-chief-whips-remarks-against-shekhawat-create-a-flutter/article34956138.ece

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