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Rajashtan CM Gehlot clarifies his remark after BJP salvo

The BJP demanded an apology from Gehlot for his remarks and also urged the Election Commission to take cognisance of the matter and take action against Gehlot.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 18, 2019 13:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Ram Nath Kovind president,Gujarat assembly election,caste equations.
CM Ashok Gehlot(HT)

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot waded into a controversy on Wednesday due to his statement that the BJP made Ram Nath Kovind president ahead of the Gujarat assembly election to balance caste equations.

Addressing a press conference here, Gehlot said, “I was reading an article that before the Gujarat assembly polls, BJP had gauged that they were losing the election, so Amit Shah used various tactics… he forwarded Kovind’s name for the post of president to make the caste equation right.”

Gehlot said people were hoping that (Lal Krishna) Advani would get the honour but he was left out once again.

The BJP demanded an apology from Gehlot for his remarks and also urged the Election Commission to take cognisance of the matter and take action against Gehlot.

“It is very unfortunate that Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, a senior Congress leader who himself is on a constitutional post, made casteist remark against the president, who is the custodian of the Constitution,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said at a press conference in Delhi.

After the BJP criticised his comments, Gehlot issued a clarification saying, “It is very unfortunate that my comments at the press conference have been misquoted by some media houses. I have the greatest regards for President of India and personally for Ramnath ji whom I have met in person and highly impressed with his simplicity and humbleness.”

At the press conference, Gehlot said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spread lies that retired army chief and former Pakistan minister were present at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s house to plan on how to make Ahmed Patel the chief minister of Gujarat. “Has such a situation arisen in the country in 70 years that a prime minister has to resort to such lies?”

He said earlier governments in India and even Pakistan had carried out surgical strikes but it was not hyped up as was done by the BJP government. Gehlot said ministers in the Modi government were inexperienced and that’s why they were all hyping up the surgical strikes.

“Surgical strikes have taken place under all prime ministers but it is never openly talked about. Pakistan also does it but no one talks about them. Some things are not meant to be publicised,” said Gehlot.

Gehlot said the 2019 election was being fought to save democracy, constitution and the country. He said in the Modi regime, everyone is feeling repressed. When a leader like Ghanshyam Tiwari, who quit the BJP after being associated with it for 50 years, said that there is an undeclared emergency in the country, one can imagine what the situation is, Gehlot said.

Gehlot said the Modi government had not given good governance but only jumlas. The yatras that the BJP leaders are doing are their vidai yatras (farewell tours).

Public will have to bear with water scarcity: Gehlot

Jaipur: Chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that water scarcity presents a big problem to the government and asked the public to bear with it.

“Water scarcity is a major problem. We have made preparations. When our government was formed we have given priority to this issue. Tenders for tankers and work orders have all been given. But this is actually going to be a major big problem. The public will have to bear with it for while. The government is working on it. Any official found to be lax on this issue will not be spared,” Gehlot said.

First Published: Apr 18, 2019 13:42 IST