Congress MLA Rajendra Singh Gudha, who was dismissed from the Rajasthan Cabinet on July 21, joined the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in his Assembly constituency, Udaipurwati, in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district on Saturday. He was formerly in the Bahujan Samaj Party. Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Shinde was present.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sacked Mr. Gudha hours after he made remarks in the Assembly drawing parallels between the sexual violence in Manipur and alleged atrocities against women in the State. Mr. Gudha later claimed that he had in his possession a “red diary”, which contained incriminating material and details of irregular financial transactions by Mr. Gehlot.
He spoke the truth
Addressing a gathering in Udaipurwati, Mr. Shinde welcomed Mr. Gudha to the Shiv Sena faction led by him and said the former Minister was removed from his post because he spoke out about women’s safety and the law and order situation. “What wrong did he say?.... Rajasthan needs improved law and order, safety for women, job opportunities for youths and farmers’s advancement,” he said.
Mr. Shinde said Rajasthan required industry and there was huge potential in sectors such as mining, which could be used to create employment opportunities for local youths. This would ensure that youths aere not forced to migrate to other States in search of jobs, he added. “Mr. Gudha gave up the Ministerial post for truth,” he said.
On an alliance with the BJP in Rajasthan, Mr. Shinde said the Shiv Sena would give priority to “politics of development” and any decision would be taken closer to the Assembly election.
Mr. Gudha said he would work for welfare of youth and women with Mr. Shinde and expressed the hope that his entry into the Shiv Sena would yield “good results”.
Defected from BSP
Elected from Udaipurwati in 2018, Mr. Gudha was among the six BSP MLAs who merged with the ruling Congress in 2019. He won on a BSP ticket in the 2008 Assembly election as well, after which he defected to the Congress and was made Minister of State for Tourism.
During the present Congress regime, Mr. Gudha was appointed Minister of State for Soldiers’ Welfare during the Cabinet reshuffle in November 2021. He was among the six BSP-turned-Congress legislators who supported Mr. Gehlot during the political crisis in 2020 caused by then Deputy CM Sachin Pilot’s rebellion and voted for Congress candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections held in June 2022.
The BJP has latched on to Mr. Gudha’s “red diary” to target the Congress government in the State. Several BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and those participating in the party’s ongoing Parivartan Yatras, have referred to the diary during their rallies. Mr. Modi said at a BJP rally in Sikar on July 27 that the “dark deeds” of Congress had been recorded in the diary.
Mr. Gudha switched camp in late 2022 after initially supporting Mr. Gehlot and started backing Mr. Pilot, apparently believing that the Congress high command was going to give an important responsibility to the former Deputy CM. He was booked in an abduction case earlier this year, after which he pointed the finger at Mr. Gehlot, who also holds the Home portfolio.
Prior to his dismissal, Mr. Gudha had been speaking against the Congress government on various administrative issues and corruption allegedly rampant in the official machinery. His critical remarks have created an embarrassing situation for the ruling party on many ocassions.