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Gehlot says his ‘ nikamma’ jibe was meant affectionately

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot during a conference, at Birla Auditorium in Jaipur, on July 6, 2022.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot during a conference, at Birla Auditorium in Jaipur, on July 6, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday explained that his nikamma (useless) jibe, directed at his former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, was said out of affection, “treating him [Mr. Pilot] as a child”. Though Mr. Gehlot had made the reference to Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, his elucidation was apparently aimed at Mr. Pilot.

Mr. Gehlot, who recently accused Mr. Shekhawat of trying to destabilise his government in 2020, said at a conference on the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) here, that phrases like nikamma and nakaara were often used for “naughty children”. “If a child close to you makes a mistake, you would definitely scold him,” he said.

The Chief Minister had earlier said in Sikar that Mr. Shekhawat, who represents the Jodhpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, had conspired to topple the State’s Congress government two years ago. Since Mr. Shekhawat had himself mentioned Mr. Pilot’s name, it was a proof that he was “hand in glove” with the latter, Mr. Gehlot had said.

Mr. Pilot later sought to play down Mr. Gehlot’s remarks during a visit to Tonk, his Assembly constituency, and said he did not take offence to the use of words like nikamma and nakaara because Mr. Gehlot was a senior and experienced leader and a “father figure” to him. The Chief Minister had used the expression to chastise Mr. Pilot during his 2020 rebellion with 18 party MLAs.

The conference of party office-bearers from 13 beneficiary districts on the ERCP was convened by the Pradesh Congress Committee, following the Centre’s directive to stop work on the ambitious project in view of “lack of consent” from other States. Rajasthan has been demanding national project status for the ERCP for quite some time.

Mr. Pilot was conspicuous by his absence at the conference. Mr. Gehlot announced that the State government would go ahead with the ₹37,200 crore project and complete it even if the Centre did not approve the national project status for it. “This canal is going to be the lifeline for 13 districts and 40% of Rajasthan’s population. The work on the project will not stop,” he said.


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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 9:25:49 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gehlot-says-his-nikamma-jibe-was-meant-affectionately/article65608815.ece