Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday accused the ruling Congress in Rajasthan of organising riots, stopping Hindu festivals, and indulging in appeasement politics with an eye on the next State Assembly election. Mr. Shah also took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, saying he needed to study the country’s history first.
Addressing a meeting of the BJP’s booth-level workers in Jodhpur, Mr. Shah said the Congress had organised “well-planned” communal riots at places like Karauli, Jodhpur, Chhabra and Malpura, and put a ban on the celebration of Hindu festivals. “This vote bank politics will spell doom for Congress. The people in Rajasthan are ready to bring the BJP back to power,” he said.
Mr. Shah said the people could not tolerate the brutal murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur and the demolition of a 300-year-old temple in Alwar. “I want to tell Ashok Gehlot- ji that if you cannot handle the State’s affairs, then please step down,” Mr. Shah said the Chief Minister’s home turf.
Mr. Gehlot represents Jodhpur’s Sardarpura constituency in the Assembly.
The Home Minster was on a two-day visit to western Rajasthan, where he laid the foundation for border tourism development work at Tanot temple complex near the India-Pakistan border in Jaisalmer district. He visited Jodhpur to meet BJP leaders and address meetings of the party’s Other Backward Classes (OBC) Morcha and the booth-level workers.
Mr. Shah said Mr. Gandhi had gone out on his yatra wearing a foreign brand T-shirt, while he had a “poor knowledge” about the nation, as reflected in one of his speeches in the Parliament. “Rahul baba had said India is not a nation at all. In which book have you read this? This is the nation for which lakhs of people have sacrificed their lives,” Mr. Shah said.
The Home Minister said that Mr. Gandhi, who had gone to connect the country, needed to study the Indian history first. He also lashed out at the Congress government in Rajasthan over high fuel prices in the State, saying it had not reduced taxes on petrol and diesel despite the Centre having slashed tax rates.
“All the BJP-ruled States have reduced fuel prices... The most expensive petrol and diesel in the country is sold in Rajasthan today. The most expensive electricity is available in Rajasthan. Who is responsible?” Mr. Shah asked.
Mr. Shah also referred to the promises made by Congress in its manifesto for the 2018 Assembly election, and said the people in the State were still waiting for a full agricultural loan waver; unemployment allowance of ₹3,500 a month; and 20 lakh jobs for youths.