Former Rajasthan chief minister and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje has lashed out at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for his statement against Home Minister Amit Shah while calling his praises for her a conspiracy against her.
Gehlot in a rally in Dholpur on Sunday claimed that Raje and two other BJP leaders had helped him save his government during the internal revolt in the party in 2020.
Also read: Raje, 2 other BJP leaders helped save my govt during MLA revolt: Gehlot
Terming Gehlot’s “praises” for her as a big conspiracy, Raje in a statement on Sunday night said he “has made such outrageous and untrue allegations because of the rebellion happening in his own party and diminishing mass base”.
The BJP leader said that no one can insult her as much as Gehlot did in his life. “To avoid a historic defeat in the 2023 assembly elections, he is creating such fabricated stories, which is unfortunate and not going to be successful,” Raje said.
“Ashok Gehlot is lying due to fear of defeat in 2023. He has accused Home Minister Amit Shah, whose honesty and integrity are well known,” she said.
What Gehlot claimed
Gehlot on Sunday claimed he survived the 2020-revolt by some Congress MLAs because BJP leaders Raje and Kailash Meghwal refused to support a conspiracy to topple an elected government through money power.
“(Union ministers) Amit Shah, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Dharmendra Pradhan conspired together to topple my government. They distributed money in Rajasthan and they are not taking the money back now. I am surprised why they are not demanding the money back from them (the MLAs),” Gehlot said.
“I have even told the MLAs that whatever money they have taken, ₹10 crore or ₹20 crore, if you have spent anything, I will give that part or I will get it from AICC (All India Congress Committee),” he said. Gehlot alleged that if the MLAs did not return the money, they will always be under pressure from Shah. “He is the Union home minister, he will intimidate…in Maharashtra he divided Shiv Sena,” he alleged.
Responding to the allegations, Raje said Gehlot should file an FIR first if he has proof that his MLAs accepted bribe.
Also read: FIR against Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat over ‘Ravana’ remarks agains Gehlot
In July 2020, Gehlot’s then deputy Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs had revolted against his leadership in July 2020. The month-long crisis ended after the intervention of the party high command. Pilot was then removed as the deputy chief minister and state Congress president.
Addressing a programme in Dholpur, Gehlot said he as the state party chief, did not support the toppling of the BJP government led by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as it was unfair, and in the same manner, Raje and Meghwal said that there is no tradition in Rajasthan to topple an elected government.
Meghwal is a former speaker of the state assembly and is currently an MLA. “If I wanted, Bhairon Singh jis government could have been toppled. I said this was unethical work. The man who is ill, he is getting treatment in America, his condition was very critical and leaders of his party were conspiring to topple his government behind him,” Gehlot said.
“Kailash Meghwal and Vasundhara Raje also said the same thing. They said that we have never had a tradition to bring down elected governments on money power… what wrong did he do?” he said.
Gehlot also praised MLA Shobharani Kushwah who had cross-voted in favour of the Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha election last year. Dholpur MLA Kushwah was subsequently suspended by the BJP for cross-voting. “She was a bold lady,” the chief minister said and added that “when Shobharani supported us, it shocked BJP leaders”.
Gehlot claimed that she listened to Raje and Meghwal and her conscience said that she should not support “those people”. “That’s why our government was saved. I can never forget this incident in my life, which had happened with me,” he said.
Also read: Pilot-Gehlot fight in Rajasthan a tussle for chair: Vasundhara Raje
Gehlot and Raje have often been accused by their detractors in their own parties of “going soft” on each other, especially when it came to allegations of corruption. The two leaders have denied any such understanding.
A few days ago, Raje had rejected allegations of collusion with Gehlot as lie, “saying milk and lemon juice never mix.”
(With inputs from agencies)