Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s praise for Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot during the foundation stone laying ceremony of medical colleges in the State has come as a breather to the senior Congress leader, who is caught in a war of nerves with the party's high command over sharing of power with the rival camp led by his former deputy Sachin Pilot.
Mr. Modi thanked Mr. Gehlot at the virtual event on Thursday for trusting him with a number of tasks and said this kind of “friendship, trust and faith” was the real strength of democracy. The Chief Minister had opened his heart and expressed his faith in a display of strong relationship, said Mr. Modi.
“I was listening to the CM of Rajasthan. He has given a long list of projects. His political ideology and party is different and mine is different, but he has so much faith in me. This friendship, trust and faith is a big strength of democracy,” Mr. Modi said.
Mr. Gehlot had requested the Prime Minister to take a decision for opening medical colleges in the remaining districts of Rajasthan and approve a medical device park in Jodhpur and a bulk drug park in Kota. The virtual programme marked the foundation stone laying of medical colleges in Banswara, Sirohi, Hanumangarh and Dausa districts.
Mr. Modi's remarks could not have been better timed for Mr. Gehlot, who has so far refused to act under pressure for accomodating Mr. Pilot's loyalists in the Council of Ministers through reshuffle and expansion and appointing them in various boards, corporations and other political positions.
The senior Congress leader was already heaving a sigh of relief after the party's plans to revamp its affairs in Punjab spiralled out of control. While the high command's focus has shifted to Punjab, the banner of revolt raised by the reformists in the party against the Gandhi family is also giving cover to Mr. Gehlot.
Though the abrupt move to dislodge Captain Amarinder Singh as the Punjab Chief Minister had put Mr. Gehlot too on notice, things have suddenly turned around after the resignation of State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. The political developments in Punjab in the days to come are likely to make an impact on the ruling party in Rajasthan.
Addressing the virtual event, Mr. Gehlot said the time had come for expansion of social security in the medical and education sectors through new initiatives. The State was moving in that direction with the schemes such as the Chief Minister's Chiranjeevi Swashthya Bima Yojana and with an effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.