Rajasthan minister Mahesh Joshi has come out in defence of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot even as dissident Congress leader Sachin Pilot stood his ground on Tuesday, reminding Gehlot of his demands. Amid the Gehlot-Pilot tussle in the Rajasthan Congress, CM loyalists Joshi and Didwana MLA Chetan Dudi hit out at those lashing out against the government, and also accused Pilot of misleading youth through his demands. The remarks come a day after Pilot and Sainik Kalyan Minister Rajendra Gudha levelled fresh corruption allegations against the ruling dispensation.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Pilot said, ”We have placed 3 demands in the Jan Sangharsh Sabha — a high-level committee should be formed to investigate the corruption in the (former) Vasundhara government, reconstitution of RPSC due to corruption and increasing cases of paper leak incidents and clear institutional criteria and transparency for the selection process and financial compensation to youth affected by paper leak.” Without naming Gudha over remarks that the Rajasthan government was going beyond “40 per cent commission of Karnataka government”, Joshi said, “Such leaders should have thought before accusing their own government that they are in a way levelling these allegations on themselves too.” Gudha made the allegations during Pilot’s rally in Jaipur on Monday.
A Pilot loyalist, however, said the demand for the reconstitution of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) was for ensuring transparent appointment of chairman and members so that the panel can instill a feeling of confidence among the youth that the selection will be fair on the lines of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
In a statement on Monday night, Joshi said those who have made the allegations know it well that whenever the matter of corruption has come, the chief minister has taken strong action by following the policy of zero tolerance and the anti corruption bureau’s actions against the corrupt are indicative of this. Dudi, who was earlier considered close to Pilot but stood with the government during the political crisis in 2020, said the three demands raised by the dissident leader were impractical and completely incomprehensible.
On the issue of corruption by the former Vasundhara Raje government, Dudi said all those cases have been settled by the High Court and the Supreme Court, and the mining leases have already been cancelled.
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Apart from a call for a high-level probe into corruption, Pilot on Monday spelled out two other demands – disbanding RPSC and its reconstitution, and compensation for those affected by the cancellation of government recruitment exams after the paper leak.
“Don’t you know that RPSC is an independent constitutional body which can never be dissolved? Even the resignation of the RPSC member is accepted by the president. Why are you confusing the youth?” Dudi tweeted on Monday night.
The MLA claimed the demand for compensation on paper leak is only for getting false praise because this does not happen in any state.
Countering this, another Pilot loyalist on Tuesday said appointments should not be based on political connections, but a highly qualified scientist or academician should be appointed so that the credibility of the institution is revived. “The criteria should not be ‘political relations’ and there should be a complete background check of the candidate before appointment so that there is no next ‘Babulal Katara’ in the RPSC,” he said, while pointing to the recent arrest of RPSC member Katara in a paper leak incident.
Earlier, Dudi said in Rajasthan, more than 150 people have been jailed for paper leak, and that special law and STF have been made on paper leak.
In a series of tweets Monday night, Dudi had asked Pilot which cases of the Vasundhara government were still pending that he wanted to get investigated. “Because as soon as the government came to power, these cases have been settled by the High Court and the Supreme Court and all the mines have also been cancelled,” he said.
Dudi also took a dig at Pilot over Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat’s tweet after his rally in which he shared a photo and video clipping of Pilot’s rally, and said, “A large group of Congress workers and leaders in Rajasthan, ‘through whose hard work the government came’, today itself is calling its government corrupt.” The Congress MLA wrote, “Rajasthan’s biggest scam is Sanjeevani scam in which lakhs of people’s houses were looted, but in the rally, the name of the main accused of Sanjeevani scam was not even taken and after the rally, the main accused tweeted in praise of Pilot. This is the truth of the rally because the friendship has been there since the time of Manesar.” Pilot and his supporting MLAs, who had revolted against the Gehlot government in July 2020, had stayed in hotels in Manesar town near Gurgaon.
Former deputy CM and Tonk MLA Pilot held a rally in Jaipur on Monday on the culmination of his Ajmer-Jaipur ‘Jan Sangharsh Pad Yatra’ on the issue of corruption and paper leak.
The rally was attended by at least 14 Congress MLAs, as many former MLAs and several other leaders of the party and a large number of his supporters in which he announced to agitate against the government if the three demands raised by him were not fulfilled by this month end.