Rajat Sharma


AKB30 Rajasthan is witnessing a close contest between Congress and BJP, with leaders from both camps involved in aggressive campaigning. On Thursday, BJP president J P Nadda released the party manifesto promising to make LPG cylinders available to poor families at Rs 450 each, appointment for 2.5 lakh government jobs in the next five years, annual assistance of Rs 12,000 to farmers , savings bond of Rs 2 lakhs each for girl children who mature at the age of 21, opening of Mahila police station in every district, setting up of anti-Romeo squads and Rs 40,000 crore investment in health infrastructure through appointments of 15,000 docs and 20,000 paramedics. Both the camps have fielded their top guns for their poll campaign. Narendra Modi, J P Nadda, Nitin Gadkari, Yogi Adityanath, Vasundhara Rae and Smriti Irani from BJP, and Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot from Congress are involved in campaign. BJP has promised to initiate probe into paper leaks and other scams during Chief Minister Gehlot’s rule. Congress leaders described BJP manifesto as “a bundle of ‘jumlas’ “ (false promises). UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed five rallies in three districts, Kota, Ajmer and Boondi on Thursday. He raised issues relating to corruption, crimes against women and daylight murder of tailor Kanhaiyalal by Islamic jehadis. Yogi blamed Congress party’s “appeasement policy” as responsible for Kanhaiya’s death. In Kota, Yogi invited people to come to Ayodhya to offer prayers at the grand Ram Temple. Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari addressed two rallies in Jaipur and said, there is a basic difference between Congress and BJP. “In BJP, I used to paste posters on walls and became the party chief and also minister, but in the Congress, one has to be born in a particular family to become the party chief”, Gadkari said. He described Congress as a “mother and son party”. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot retorted by saying that when BJP leaders have nothing to say, they target Gandhi family. Gehlot told voters that “not a single member from Gandhi family became the PM in the last three years. They do not yearn for power”. Rahul Gandhi addressed three rallies in Churu, Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar and spoke about Adani, demonetization and Covid deaths. “When thousands were dying of Covid, Modi was asking people to beat thalis and taalis”, Rahul Said. In Hanumangarh, Rahul Gandhi said, Modi had promised in 2014 to give 2 crore jobs every year, but in the last nine years, hardly two lakhs people have got jobs. BJP leader Smriti Irani said, “nobody, not even the people of Amethi, take Rahul Gandhi seriously. He could not develop Amethi in 20 years, how can the people of Rajasthan trust him?” In a jibe at Priyanka Gandhi, Smriti Irani said, “Where is the leader who used to say “ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon” in UP? Can’t she see the atrocities being committed on women in Rajasthan?” The Congress in Rajasthan is facing twin challenges – on one hand, leaders are at logger heads, and on the other hand, dissidents are in the fray. Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, the main contenders for power in Rajasthan, were present with Rahul Gandhi in his rallies on Thursday. Rahul told media that “all is well in the party, the party is united, and we will win the elections”. At the ‘Chunav Manch’ conclave organized by India TV in Jaipur, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge denied the charge that he was being “remote controlled” by Gandhi family. Kharge said, “I take all decisions myself as party president. Of course, I take advice from Sonia Ji and Rahul Gandhi because I get the benefit of advice from a former party president. ..But decisions are never thrust upon me. ..Those who say I am a remote-controlled President, must look at their own party. J P Nadda’s remote is being controlled by Narendra Modi. It is Modi who takes all major party decisions.” At the ‘Chunav Manch’, Congress leader Sachin Pilot disclosed that Kharge and Rahul Gandhi advised him 6 to 8 months ago “to forgive and forget, and move on, in the interest of party unity”. Asked about the words ‘nikamma’ (lazy), ‘naakaraa’ (useless) used against him by Ashok Gehlot, Pilot said, “words which come from the mouth cannot be taken back, but I am always a stickler for decency in political discourse.” Sachin Pilot is right. He never broke the limits of decency while attacking his rivals. But he put forth his demands forcefully. After the paper leak incidents, he took out a yatra against his own party’s government. Gehlot was on the backfoot, but the wily chief minister played a political spin. It was alleged that Pilot is protesting because he wants the CM’s chair. Gehlot conveyed this to Rahul Gandhi. The fact is that Congress came to power five years ago because of continuous efforts put in by Sachin Pilot. Priyanka Gandhi had promised him to make him the CM, but after the party won the elections, Rahul Gandhi handed over the CM post to Ashok Gehlot. Pilot was asked to wait for some time, but the promise was never fulfilled. Pilot was unhappy. He was on the verge of leaving the party. This time, both Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge have promised him the CM’s post. Sachin Pilot has now put a lid on his anger. One point to note is that Pilot has not forgotten the incidents that took place since the 2020 rebellion. He is openly admitting it. He is trying his level best to ensure his party’s victory. He is still hopeful that he will enjoy the fruits of his labour and will ultimately be given the chief minister’s post.

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