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  • Decoding Politics: Why is BJP raising two ‘comments’, one by Gehlot loyalist, another by his son? | Political Pulse News

Decoding Politics: Why is BJP raising two ‘comments’, one by Gehlot loyalist, another by his son? | Political Pulse News

Poll-bound Rajasthan’s political discourse seems to be revolving around two key issues. Firstly, a comment by state Cabinet minister and Ashok Gehlot loyalist Shanti Dhariwal, which allegedly insulted the women of the state.

Another issue that has grabbed the limelight is an alleged remark by Chief Minister Gehlot’s son Vaibhav, that the Congress government led by his father will not come back to power.

So, how have the two issues become a frequent feature of the political discourse in Rajasthan?

Dhariwal’s statement and the subsequent row

On March 9 last year, a day after International Women’s Day, Dhariwal during an address in the Assembly said the high number of rapes in Rajasthan were due to it ‘‘being a men’s state’’.

Replying during a debate on grants to the police and jails of the state, Dhariwal, who is also the Minister for Law and Legal Affairs, said, “We are number one in rape. Isme koi do raai nahi. Ab ye rape ke mamle mein kyu hai, kahin na kahin galti hai ye toh s**** (Why we are number one in rapes, there is a fault somewhere).”

Festive offer

As a few MLAs behind him began speaking, Dhariwal turned around and said, “Rajasthan toh mardon ka pradesh raha hai. Ab uska kya kare? (Rajasthan has been a state of men. What can be done?)” The MLAs then burst into laughter.

However, no protests were held in the Assembly over the remarks as the Opposition BJP had staged a walkout before the minister’s address. However, later in the day, BJP state president Satish Poonia slammed Dhariwal’s comments and termed his “shameless confession of the state being number one in rapes” an insult to the women.

“The remarks have also lowered the dignity of men. If the Congress has any morality left, such a minister should be sacked,” he had said.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) had also taken suo moto cognizance of Dhariwal’s comments while the BJP created an uproar over them in the Assembly the following day.

Dhariwal subsequently apologised and said his remarks were the result of a “slip of tongue”.

The minister’s candidature for the polls hung in the balance with the Congress high command reportedly against it for his role in organising a separate meeting of MLAs loyal to Gehlot while skipping an official Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting last year. Eventually, he was fielded by the party from Kota North, which he represents in the current Assembly.

The BJP has now dug up the year-old issue to slam the Congress. At a rally in Bharatpur last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked Dhariwal without naming him.

“The Congress has rewarded this minister with a ticket instead of punishing him. Even people in Delhi (Congress high command) agreed to give him a ticket. This raises a question of what “second red diary” is in the possession of jaadugar’s (Gehlot) favourite minister that even Delhi had to bow down to him. Every Congress leader knows the minister’s truth, yet they gave him a ticket as he has information about people in Delhi. After the BJP forms the government here, I promise to unravel that secret too,” Modi had said.

This brings us to the question of what the “first red diary” is.

The first red diary and Vaibhav’s statement

The “red diary” first hogged the limelight in July after former minister of state Rajendra Singh Gudha claimed he was sent by the CM to retrieve the diary from the house of Gehlot’s close aide Dharmendra Rathore, whose house was being raided by central agencies amid a political crisis in 2020.

Gudha’s claims came after he was sacked as minister by Gehlot, hours after he had slammed the state government in the House over the rise in crimes against women. The former MoS had urged his government to introspect on this, rather than speak on the violence in Manipur.

Since his unceremonious exit, Gudha has been raking up the red diary while claiming that the CM has been regularly asking him whether he had burnt it. The former minister also claimed that Gehlot would be behind bars had he not retrieved the diary.

Gudha has now joined the Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) and will be in the fray from Udaipurwati constituency, which he won in 2018 as a BSP candidate.

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Last week too, the Udaipurwati MLA raked up the issue when he showed some pages of the purported diary to the media. “Vaibhav Gehlot says this government will not come back to power. I can give it in writing that my father cannot come back to power. Rajendra Gudha is not saying this. This is being said by Vaibhav Gehlot, the chief minister’s son,” the Udaipurwati MLA said while flaunting pages of the “red diary”, though there is no confirmation of Vaibhav having said this.

The BJP and Modi have targeted Gehlot over the diary. “Some people say that there is a quboolnama (confession) of a son in the red diary, where he says his papa’s government will not come back to power,” Modi said at a recent rally.

Modi raked up the issue again at a public meeting in Nagaur. “Gehlot ji, kya ho gaya? Aapka jaadu aapke bete par bhi nahi chal raha hai kya (What happened Gehlotji? Is your magic not working on your own son)?” he had said.

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