Willing to take help of 'sants' to combat drought: Gehlot

JAIPUR JAN. 3. The Rajasthan Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, has said that his Government was willing to take the help of `sants' and holy men to combat the drought crisis. "I have written to them some time back in this connection. I am convinced that they can help the State in relief work specially in saving the cattle wealth.''

Talking in the context of the controversy over the `Ram katha' recital being organised by the Rajasthan Governor from next Monday, Mr. Gehlot refused to join the issue but said the `sants' were always welcome to the State. "I have been in touch with Sant Morari Bapu, Ramsukhdasji and Acharya Mahapragya in an effort to mobilise relief. If a Ram katha is being organised for collection in drought relief, that too is welcome,'' the Congress Chief Minister said.

``We have taken the help of religious heads in the past too while trying to provide succour to the drought-hit people. If such programmes help raise funds for the Chief Minister's or the Governor's Relief Funds that should be welcomed,'' he felt.

Mr. Gehlot has already made it clear that his Government, however, did not initiate the `Ram katha' recital programme being organised at Amrooton Ka Bagh grounds here. As the activist organisations and the Left parties have taken up the cudgels against the Governor for organising the religious recital, Mr. Gehlot has taken a stand that neither the Chief Minister nor the Governor should be involved directly in such activities.

Reacting to the observations made by the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, during his Goan holiday, Mr. Gehlot said there seemed to be some pattern in the utterances of Mr. Vajpayee and those of the VHP leaders. "They are at tandem talking like this. They seem to have decided between them as to who should say what and when.''

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