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Rajasthan bypolls | Gehlot dismisses reports of meeting with Rahul Gandhi

On the appointment of Harish Chaudhary as the AICC in-charge of Punjab, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said it is the good fortune of Rajasthan and it is a symbol of hard work, loyalty and commitment of party workers and leaders.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday refuted media reports that he had met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after attending a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi on October 16. “Such rumours will make rounds until there is a reshuffle of the [State] Cabinet,” he said.

The Congress party's committee constituted to look into the issues in Rajasthan met after the CWC meeting, in which Priyanka Gandhi, K.C. Venugopal and Ajay Maken were present, Mr. Gehlot told reporters here. He said there might have been an “eye-catching” with Mr. Gandhi at the CWC event, but no meeting took place.

Also read: Congress, BJP announce candidates for Rajasthan bypolls

“The media reports described how Mr. Gandhi expressed his annoyance with the Chief Minister and how was his body language. It seemed as if the reporters themselves were sitting there... Or, they might have got the divine vision like Sanjay in the war epic Mahabharata,” Mr. Gehlot quipped referring to a newspaper published from Jaipur.

Earlier, Mr. Gehlot gave away the lifetime achievement award to senior journalist Vijay Bhandari, 89, at the latter's residence in Tilak Nagar in Jaipur. The award was instituted jointly by media advocacy institution Lok Samvad Sansthan and Journalism and Mass Communication Department of the Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur.

Mr. Gehlot's visit to the New Delhi had sparked a speculation about its ramifications for the State’s politics, as the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle as well as political appointments have been inordinately delayed. However, the Cabinet reshuffle took a backseat after the announcement of byelections to two Assembly seats in the State.

Asked about the appointment of Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary as the Congress in-charge of Punjab, Mr. Gehllot said giving responsibility to the leaders and party workers from Rajasthan reflected their hard work, loyalty and commitment. Health Minister Raghu Sharma was also recently made party in-charge of Gujarat.

The Chief Minister accused the opposition BJP leaders of making “irresponsible and unbridled” statements against the Congress government during the campaign for Assembly bypolls to Vallabhnagar and Dhariawad constituencies scheduled for October 30. He said the Congress would win both the seats based on the State government's achievements during the last two-and-a-half years.

Mr. Gehlot said the BJP government at the Centre had created an “atmosphere of suffocation” by targeting people around elections through the agencies such as CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should remove this atmosphere, because good governance could be ensured in a democracy only by trust and mutual respect, he added.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 9:13:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-bypolls-cm-gehlot-accuses-bjp-leaders-of-making-unrestrained-comments-against-state-government/article37139484.ece

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