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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Ashok Gehlot, Vasundhara Raje spar over Barmer refinery project

While in the opposition, Ashok Gehlot, the present Rajasthan CM, had many times cornered the BJP for stalling projects started under the Congress government, including the Barmer refinery .

jaipur Updated: Sep 03, 2019 12:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Jaipur
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former CM Vasundhara Raje posted a series of tweets over Barmer refinery.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former CM Vasundhara Raje posted a series of tweets over Barmer refinery. (Himanshu Vyas / HT Photo )
         

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his predecessor Vasundhara Raje have again locked horns over the oil refinery in Barmer.

While in the opposition, Gehlot had many times cornered the Bharatiya Janata Party for stalling projects started under the Congress government, such as the Rs 43,129 crore Barmer refinery and MEMU coach factory in Bhilwara, among others.

The last BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje from 2003 to 2008 had placed these projects under review and the refinery project was renegotiated and an MoU was inked later in 2004. Since then, both the Congress and BJP have been vying to take the credit for the refinery.

Raje, in a series of tweets on Saturday, pulled up the Congress for what she said were delays on part of the Congress government.

“In 2013, Congress did lay the stone (foundation), but apart from it, they did not even consider it necessary to do the paperwork. Our BJP government had started working on the MoU in three years. Why did the Congress remember the Barmer oil refinery 11 days before the code of conduct was enforced?” she tweeted in Hindi.

The senior BJP leader was referring to the laying of the foundation stone of Barmer oil refinery by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in September 2013 ahead of the assembly elections.

She also tweeted about the steps her government took, saying, “Lessons in history would do the #Rajasthan Congress Govt. a world of good.”

People close to Raje said her tweets came in reaction to Gehlot’s statement during an event on Saturday where he had cornered the last government led by her over stalling the refinery project.

After his visit to the data centre, Gehlot had tweeted, “Very good work has been done here. We will further strengthen it to ensure that its benefit is availed of by the entire state. I see it as a revolution in the IT (information technology) field. Looking at this project, I remember Rajiv Gandhi and the dream he had at that time has a possibility to come true.”

Later in the day, Raje thanked Gehlot for praising the data centre in Jaipur, work on which started during her tenure. “Thank you for appreciating our efforts Gehlot ji, we hope you will take this forward with as much zeal as we did,” she tweeted on Saturday.

The next day came Gehlot’s thank you tweet as well as barbs.

“It is good Vasudhara ji has thanked us, but it would have been better if as a CM she had reflected the same spirit like we have regarding refinery. As we are appreciating techno hub, they should have also shown the same large-heartedness towards refinery,” the Congress leader said in a series of tweets.

“The arguments that Vasundhara ji is putting forward over refinery now are totally baseless. She wasted four years by misleading the public. If she had not stopped its work, then Rajasthan would have got the gift of refinery by now.”

In his third tweet, he said, “Our effort has been to take forward all good projects by our predecessors. We are not stopping any scheme, which is in interest of people of Rajasthan.”

Later the war of words was taken over by the state unit of the BJP as it rebutted Gehlot by giving a point-by-point argument.

“On what basis is CM Gehlot trying to glorify himself when the first well of the Barmer Refinery ‘Mangla’ was dug during the first term of the Vasundhara government? The truth is, Gehlot ji, you tried to take false credit by inaugurating the refinery just 10 days before the code of conduct was enforced,” the BJP tweeted in Hindi.

“It was a result of the evolutionary thinking of the BJP government that the work on the refinery at Pachpadra was started on a war footing. The conditions for setting up the refinery by the previous Congress government were not in the public interest and the BJP government saved Rs 40,000 crore in the state,” the party wrote.

And, in its last tweet, BJP said: “Gehlot ji should be proud that the Barmer refinery will become the country’s first BS-VI standard-based eco-friendly refinery, as well as India’s first integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in the public sector, as per the MoU taken up by the Vasundhara government.”

First Published: Sep 03, 2019 12:53 IST