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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Ashok Gehlot’s team rebuts charge he campaigned for son at party’s cost

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the western state, less than six months after the Congress wrested power from Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government .

india Updated: May 29, 2019 08:13 IST

Hindustan Times, Jaipur
CM ashok Gehlot with son and MP candidate Vaibhav Gehlot
CM ashok Gehlot with son and MP candidate Vaibhav Gehlot(Hindustan Times)

Rajasthan chief minster Ashok Gehlot had spent only a fraction of his time to campaign in Jodhpur for his son Vaibhav Gehlot, officials considered close to the CM claimed on Tuesday to counter allegations that his pre-occupation with his son’s campaign led to the Congress’s devastating loss in the state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had won all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the western state, less than six months after the Congress wrested power from Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government.

The officials close to the CM provided a list of public meetings addressed by Gehlot in Rajasthan during the Lok Sabha election campaign to claim that he addressed 104 rallies of which only 14 were in his son’s constituency, Jodhpur. The official also said that Gehlot participated in filing of nomination papers of 22 of the 25 Congress Lok Sabha candidates and visited every Lok Sabha constituency at least thrice.

Gehlot has come under fire after Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the CWC meet had blamed some leaders for putting their sons above the party and reportedly expressed unhappiness at the Rajasthan CM spending a week in Jodhpur to campaign for his son and neglecting the state. Vaibhav, who was making his political debut from Jodhpur against sitting MP and union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, lost by over 3 lakh votes.

On Tuesday, both Gehlot and Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot met party general secretary and in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi. Local leaders said Pilot met Priyanka at Rahul Gandhi’s residence, followed by Gehlot.

However the agenda of discussion was not known. Later, both of them also met party’s general secretary in-charge of organisation K C Venugopal.

The Congress in Rajasthan has called for a state executive meeting on Wednesday in which a resolution requesting Congress president Rahul Gandhi to withdraw his resignation is likely to be adopted. The meeting will be attended by AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande and AICC secretary, Vivek Bansal, Gehlot and Pilot.

Even as Pande asked the state leaders not to express their view on election results in public after two ministers Ramesh Meena and Udai Lal Anjana in Gehlot cabinet had sought a need to find out reasons for the loss and fix accountability, two more party leaders aired their views on public.

On Tuesday, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee secretary, Sushil Asopa, in a Facebook post, said that state Congress president and deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot should have been made chief minister instead of Ashok Gehlot. “Wherever you go in Rajasthan, you hear one voice - Congress. The results of the Lok Sabha elections would have been different had the party made Sachin Pilot chief minister as a reward for his hard work over five years,” he wrote in Hindi.

Khandelwal blamed party leaders for her loss and in a letter to Gandhi said that there should be a detailed analysis of the party’s functioning in Jaipur constituency. She said some local leaders and workers in Malviya Nagar assembly constituency had not been active and blamed poor booth management for her defeat.

First Published: May 28, 2019 21:16 IST

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