Rajasthan Revenue Minister Hemaram Choudhary resigns

Rajasthan Revenue Minister Hemaram Choudhary has resigned from the state Cabinet, apparently upset over the shifting of the oil refinery site from Lilala to Pachparda in Barmer district.

Though the Revenue Minister, who represents Gudhamalani Assembly constituency in Barmer, has not mentioned a reason for his resignation in the letter sent to the Chief Minister, the legislator and another prominent Congress MLA Sonaram had publicly sparred over the issue at a meeting in the district yesterday.

The meeting between farmers and elected representatives was called over the issue of shifting the site of the refinery from Lilala to Pachpadra (both in Barmer district).

While Choudhary could not be reached for comment, Sonaram told PTI, "It was the farmers who had questioned the minister on shifting of the location, and on their pressure, the minister announced that he would resign from the government.

"Why should I ask him (Choudhary) to do so.I have very good relations with him," Sonaram said.

Sonaram, who had participated in public and farmers' agitation over shifting of the refinery location in Leelala, said, "Probably the minister could not convince the Chief Minister over keeping the refinery's establishment at Leelala".

"Shifting location of refinery and resignation of minister may affect the Gehlot government's prospect in upcoming assembly polls later this year," Sonaram, who has been very vocal on many local issues, said.

In his resignation letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Choudhary said, "Honourable Chief Minister, I, Hemaram Choudhary tender my resignation from the Rajasthan Cabinet. Please accept it"

However, the Chief Minister's Press Adviser told PTI, "No such fax has landed in the CMO so far".

The ministers' two gunmen, Khetaram and Laxmikant said, "The minister has sent us back to police department...relieved us...returned his government vehicle...He has left for his constituency to meet people."

Barmer has witnessed many protests recently over the issue of shifting the site of the refinery.

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