Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot took another dig at the BJP today with a show of support to rival Vasundhara Raje Scindia, telling the media that she should not be victimised by her party for refusing to bring down his government at a vulnerable moment. Mr Gehlot had expressed his gratitude to Ms Raje earlier as well on this issue, bringing a caustic comment from the younger leader.
Asked about the alleged sidelining of Ms Raje in the BJP, Mr Gehlot told reporters today that it was an internal matter of the BP and he would not like to comment on it.
“But I would like to state that she should not be punished because of me… This would be an injustice to her,” he said, implying that the BJP’s former Chief Minister is above her party’s tactics to dislodge opposition governments.
In May this year, Mr Gehlot claimed that Vasundhara Raje and two other BJP leaders had helped save his government during the revolt by Sachin Pilot and his loyalists in 2020.
The claim had brought an acerbic comment from Ms Raje, who said the veteran leader’s remark was “not a sign of goodwill but malice”.
“Ashok Gehlot has never got a majority since 2003. That’s why he considers me his biggest enemy and a thorn in his path. That’s why there is no goodwill for me in his praise, there is only malice,” Ms Raje had said.
Last month, a cropped photo of the two leaders seated together was widely circulated online, reviving their partymen’s allegation that they were going soft on each other. Ms Raje’s office finally released the complete photo, which showed two other leaders
The comment of Mr Gehlot reviving the fractious issue is seen by many as a snub to the BJP, highlighting what the Congress calls its unethical practices.
It is also a ploy to play down the factionalism in his party by drawing attention to rifts in the opposition party, which by the state’s revolving door tradition, is expected by many to be in an advantageous position.