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Ashok Gehlot says can't forget 102 MLAs who saved Congress Govt in 2020; backs Kharge as party president

News Agencies | Updated on: 2 October 2022, 16:28 IST
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said that he cannot forget those 102 MLAs who saved the Congress government in the 2020 political crisis.

He alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tried to wean away 102 MLAs by offering Rs 10 crore or more each to the MLAs who supported him.

"How can the 102 MLAs who saved the government be forgotten? That's why I had to apologize to Sonia Gandhi. BJP will try every time how to disturb the government. At that time Amit Shah held a meeting. They were feeding sweets to our MLAs," Gehlot told mediapersons.

"How can I forget the favour of those 102 people? There were offers of Rs 10 crore each on exiting the hotel. Later this amount increased. In many states, the government changed through horse trading. However, they could not succeed in Rajasthan. Such a big crisis came but with everyone's cooperation, we were successful. So how can I forget them?" he added.

On the question regarding the election of the National President of Congress, he said that Mallikarjun Kharge is rich in experience and a person of a clean heart. Shashi Tharoor is also a good person but Kharge has a long experience in the organization. "There will be a unilateral victory (of Kharge) for the post of president," he declared.

On being asked whether there can be a change of guard in Rajasthan, Gehlot said that it is for the party's high command to decide.

"I am doing my work and if a decision has to be taken, it is for the party high command to take," he said.

Attacking the legislators who had revolted against him in 2020, he said they were hand-in-glove with the BJP.

Without naming Sachin Pilot, Gehlot indicated that he should be investigated for anti-party activities. He said, "It should be looked into as to why there was resentment among MLAs over the name of a new Chief Minister in the state."

While talking about Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said that the BJP government is becoming restless "They are trying to tarnish the image on social media. The yatra is being successful and the whole country is looking towards Rahul Gandhi," he further said.

Attacking the BJP-led central government, he said, "When we had given a separate budget for the farmers, it was only then that we had said that the upcoming budget would be dedicated to the youth. Our theme is that every family should get social security. This is what we urge the central government. On the one hand, the central government waives thousands of crores of industrialists but does not waive the loans of poor farmers. The central government will have to change this thinking. It is easy to start a riot or start a fire but it is difficult to put out the fire."

Gehlot was till last week sure to be elected Congress President but had to withdraw from the contest.

MLAs loyal to him threatened to resign over Pilot being a possible replacement for the post of CM.

Ashok Gehlot would've had to give up his post in keeping with the party's "one person, one post" policy. More than 80 MLAs owing allegiance to Gehlot gathered at assembly speaker CP Joshi's place and submitted their resignation to protest any move by the central observers to select the Rajasthan CM's bete noire Sachin Pilot, who had led a revolt against him in 2020.


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First published: 2 October 2022, 16:28 IST