Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who has been fighting rebellion from his political rival Sachin Pilot, writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi drawing his attention towards the alleged horse-trading going on in the state to topple the government. Gehlot questioned Modi, "How can the ruling party at the Centre play the main role in the conspiracy to topple the state government leaving aside its priority to tackle corona management?"
Addressing the PM as ‘Priya Shri Narendra Modi ji’ in his letter, Gehlot alleged that efforts are being made to topple the elected government in Rajasthan in which Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and a few leaders of the BJP as well as the Congress are playing an active role.
The Rajasthan CM in his letter said, “I would like to draw your attention to the efforts being made to demolish elected governments in the states through horse trading which is contrary to democratic norms.”
“Due to the multi-party system in our Constitution, governments of different parties are elected in the states and at the Centre. This is the beauty of our democracy that these elected governments have worked in the public interest rising above party politics,” he added.
“In last few years, there have been malicious attempts to destabilise the democratically elected state governments by flouting the norms of anti-defection law which were framed by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 and the amendments were later brought into it by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.”
“This is a grave insult to constitutional values and public mandate. Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh are live examples in this case,” Gehlot further said.
“Saving lives remains to be our top priority during the Corona time. However, in such times, an attempt is being made to topple the elected government in Rajasthan. The act includes Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a few BJP leaders and some very ambitious leaders of our party, one of whom is our senior leader Bhanwarlal Sharma.”
“During his past tenure as BJP MLA, he had tried to topple the Bhairon Singh Shekhawat government by indulging in buying and selling MLAs. In those times, I met the then Governor Baliram Bhagat and Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in my capacity as opposition party leader and opposed his act.”
Gehlot wrote, “I regret the fact that when the central and state governments own the responsibility to save lives and livelihoods, how can the ruling party at the centre play the main role in the conspiracy to topple the state government leaving aside its priority to tackle Corona management. Similar allegations were also raised a few months back when the MP government was toppled and your party earned disrespect across the nation.”
“I do not know to what extent you are aware of this, or if you are being misled. History shall never forgive those who participated in such actions.”
Gehlot ended his letter saying, “Constitutional values and democratic principles shall win and we shall complete our tenure giving good governance.”
As the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out at over a dozen locations in Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and West Bengal in the fertiliser scam case, including the house of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s brother Agrasain Gehlot, the congress questioned the timing of the action.
Following the ED raids, the Congress flayed the Modi government and maintained that when the Centre’s attempts to topple the party’s state government failed, the ED had conducted raids, including at the premises of Gehlot’s brother.
“Whenever the BJP is in trouble, when the BJP fails to topple any government, then they take the support of the ED, CBI and the Income Tax,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters in Jaipur.
The ED searches are being carried under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
The ED has filed a case under the PMLA based on a Customs Department complaint and charge sheet in the alleged fertiliser scam case.
A top ED official said: “The ED is conducting searches at 13 locations across the country — four in Gujarat, six in Rajasthan, two in West Bengal and one in Delhi.”
The official said that the financial probe agency is also carrying out searches at the premises of Agrasain Gehlot, whose firm Anupam Krishi held authorised dealership of Indian Potash Ltd (IPL).
An ED source claimed the company owned by Agrasain Gehlot was involved in exporting Muriate of Potash (MoP) fertiliser, which is banned for exports. MoP is imported by IPL and distributed among farmers at subsidised rates.
The source further said that Agrasain Gehlot is facing Rs 7 crore Customs penalty in the fertiliser case.
According to the source, Agrasian Gehlot was an authorised dealer for IPL and between 2007-09 his company bought MoP at subsidised rates and instead of distributing to farmers sold it to few other companies, who in turn exported it to Malaysia and Singapore in the guise of industrial salt.
The searches comes in the backdrop of a political crisis in Rajasthan after the rebellion by then Deputy Chief Minister and PCC President Sachin Pilot, who was sacked from these posts on July 14.
The case was unearthed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in 2012-13. The BJP had raised the issue in 2017. (IANS)