Other States

Protests unnerve ‘Gaurav Yatra’ organisers

People show black flags, throw stones; Raje suspends yatra for three days, revises march itinerary

Incidents of protests against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in western Rajasthan’s Marwar region during the second phase of her ‘Gaurav Yatra’, which started on Friday, have unnerved the organisers of the march.

Protesters showed black flags and threw stones during the rally at Pipar town, near Jodhpur, on Saturday night. While Ms. Raje and the ruling BJP leaders blamed the Congress for the attacks – Jodhpur is the home turf of AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot – the Congress refuted the charge and said violence was never a part of the party’s political culture.

“The BJP is ignoring the ground reality of widespread resentment because of its anti-people policies,” Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot said here on Sunday.

Ms. Raje, travelling in the Jodhpur division, faced protests at three locations on Saturday.

During a public meeting at Osian, supporters of Independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal showed black flags to the Chief Minister. Outside the town, people from Rajput community blocked roads and tore down Ms. Raje’s posters.

At Sekhala, people raised slogans against BJP MLA Babu Singh Rathore and demanded a change of the BJP candidate in the upcoming Assembly polls. A stone hurled at the yatra’s cavalcade broke the window panes of Health Minister Kali Charan Saraf’s car, though he escaped unhurt.

Slogans raised

During Ms. Raje’s speech at Pipar on Saturday night, protesters raised slogans against the shifting of the Riyan Panchayat Samiti and reportedly threw stones at her bus, which has been modified as a “chariot” for the yatra. Ms. Raje abruptly ended her address, cancelled her night halt at Khejarla and left for Jaipur by a special plane from Jodhpur. The yatra has been suspended for three days and its itinerary has been revised to exclude Luni, Sardarpura, Soorsagar and Jodhpur Assembly constituencies in the district. Mr. Gehlot represents the Sardarpura constituency.

Without naming Mr. Gehlot, Ms. Raje said that the protests had been organised to disrupt her yatra “at the behest of a senior Congress leader”. “I will not be cowed down by such acts. The people will teach a lesson to those who have not done anything for development of Rajasthan. The BJP will certainly return to power.”

Refuting the charge, Mr. Gehlot said the protesters could have been the BJP’s own workers agitated over local issues. “Ms. Raje gets disturbed at the sight of black flags, which are a part of public life. Her Gaurav Yatra this time will turn out to be her 'Vidai Yatra' (farewell march),” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:52:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/protests-unnerve-gaurav-yatra-organisers/article24787739.ece

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