Dissidents use Vadra affair to hit at Gehlot

They write to Sonia, demand Bharat Singhs removal

Dissident Congress legislators led by parliamentary secretary Rajendra Singh Bidhuri have demanded the removal of PWD minister Bharat Singh, accusing him of nursing anti-Gandhi family sentiments.

They also accused chief minister Ashok Gehlot of supporting him tacitly. Ten legislators from the party have written to Sonia Gandhi targeting Singh for his alleged remarks at the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting last week.

The letter says public works department minister objected to the suggestion that Congress legislators should defend party president’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, who is in the eye of a storm over a land deal with the realty major DLF, if the opposition BJP targets him in the state assembly.

It is alleged that the minister raised an objection saying it was Vadra’s personal matter and the party should not get involved in it.

“We (Congressmen) get votes in the name of Gandhi family. How can someone object to the party defending a family member, especially when the opposition is illegally targeting the member to hit out at Congress,” Bidhuri said while confirming about the letter and its content.

When the PWD minister and Bidhuri engaged in a heated argument over the issue, the parliamentary secretary even targeted chief minister Ashok Gehlot for reportedly being quiet.

Bidhuri, who belongs to Gujjar community, had recently given his resignation papers alleging failure of the government to provide 5 per cent reservation to the community. But the chief minister has not accepted his resignation yet.

The parliamentary secretary, who originally belongs to Haryana, also said the minister called him an outsider in Rajasthan.

“The party high command gave me the ticket to contest election from here. The people of this state voted me to the Assembly. Who is he to call me an outsider? Is he challenging the authority of the party leadership that fields candidates,” said Bidhuri.

Anti-party activities

The letter also mentions that Singh has allegedly been involved in anti-party activities since long.

This is not the first time when Bharat Singh has stayed away from the party.

During the last budget session, he praised former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for building roads, and ignored the development works done by Congress’ prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the letter reads.

It says Bharat Singh is the same minister who routinely stays at the residences of senior BJP leaders, thereby demoralising the local Congress leaders.

The complainants have blamed the minister for the cross-voting by Congress pradhans in Kota that led to a BJP member getting elected as the zila pramukh.

Bidhuri recalled that at a CLP meeting held at Gehlot’s residence two years ago, some senior Congress leaders objected when the parliamentary secretary had repeatedly praised the Gandhi family for its sacrifices for country’s development.

On both the occasions (at CLP’s meeting now and earlier), the chief minister maintained a silence and did not ask such legislators to shut up, said Bidhuri.

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