Even as Ashok Gehlot’s fate as the chief minister of Rajasthan hangs in the balance, the veteran Congressman on Saturday asked the people to send suggestions about the next budget directly to him, hinting that he was there to stay. He also declared that he cannot remain away from the people of Rajasthan “till his last breath” and that the Congress government will complete its five years.
Gehlot’s remarks come days after he announced that he will not contest the Congress presidential polls as he took moral responsibility for the political crisis in his state, and said the decision on whether he would remain the chief minister would be taken by the party chief. The controversy erupted last Sunday after MLAs loyal to him submitted resignation letters over a possible move to appoint Sachin Pilot as the next chief minister and held a meeting parallel to the one convened by the Congress Legislature Party.
“I may be on any post. I am from Rajasthan. I belong to Marwar, to Jodhpur, to Mahamandir. How can I remain away from where I was born? Wherever I am, I will continue to serve Rajasthan till my last breath. What I say carries some meaning,” he told reporters in Bikaner. As reporters sought to know from him whether he will present the government’s fifth budget, Gehlot said, “We will complete five years and I have said the next budget will be presented for students and the youth.” The chief minister also said the BJP wanted to topple his government, but his regime was going strong.
“They keep making efforts to ensure that our government does not complete five years. Earlier, too, the BJP tried horse trading but our MLAs were united and they did not budge. You can see the government was saved last time and it is still going strong,” he said. Urging the people to continue supporting the Congress, Gehlot said people sometimes “get carried away” in the election wave and keep changing the government.
Slamming the BJP for denting Rahul Gandhi’s image on social media, he said the saffron party leaders and their allies were now shaken by the Congress leader’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. “The people of the country are very happy with Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra. He does not want dictatorship and one-party rule. He wants the Opposition to be strong,” Gehlot said.
On the election to pick Congress national president, Gehlot said it was sending across a message to the people of the country. “When Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, and Nadda became the BJP presidents, no one knew. In Congress, the election is being conducted in a democratic manner. This election has given a message to the people that the Congress is still in the position of giving a strong Opposition,” Gehlot said.
With inputs from News18