BJP 'fully supports' Raje

BJP 'fully supports' Raje

BJP today asserted that it "fully supports" Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who is engulfed in the Lalit Modi controversy, rejecting Opposition demands for her resignation.

As the Congress upped the ante pressing for Raje's removal, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters here, "BJP fully supports Vasundhara Raje who is our tallest leader in Rajasthan. Congress is targeting our popular leaders and we stand by her."

Sharma's assertion came after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Jaitley, who on Thursday said that "nobody is tainted", is understood to have discussed various aspects of the raging controversy including the legal implications and the political fallout.

The Finance Minister later had a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah and is believed to have deliberated upon the party's strategy to brazen out the massive row involving Raje as well as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Changing its tack today, the party said even if Raje had backed the immigration appeal of Lalit Modi, former IPL chairman, she had not testified in court on his behalf and hence the Opposition criticism of her supporting a man wanted for financial crimes in India was "misplaced".

"Did she go and depose there (in the UK)? No. There was no action that finally took place of her behalf," said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli, adding that Raje's statement was made in 2011  "in her personal capacity, not in her capacity as Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan."

In Jaipur, Raje's office for the second consecutive day dismissed media reports including that of a signature campaign by 120 party MLAs in her support.

In a statement, CMO spokesman said the Chief Minister holds "jansunwai" (public hearing) at her residence every Friday, and for this many MLAs come with the public of their constituency for putting forward their problems and demands.

"Similarly today, the CM is holding public hearing in which MLAs and party workers are meeting", the spokesman said.

"The news of signature by 120 MLAs (in her support) is completely wrong. It is not fair to link public hearing with a different view", he said.

The CMO said the Chief Minister never asked or made any call to MLAs to show their strength and support.

The Chief Minister's Press Advisor had said last night that "false" reports were being run on the basis of "rumours" to tarnish her image and cause "political damage".

The Chief Minister is in the dock for reportedly giving an affidavit in favour of Lalit Modi, who is facing ED probe into alleged money laundering in connection with organising of IPL tournament.
Lalit Modi has made London his home ever since the probe began in 2010.

The CMO said today that some channels were still broadcasting "baseless and untrue" news.
"The Chief Minister has not made any such statements shown in TV news channels. Some media channels were running news to tarnish the political image of Chief Minister", he said.

A number of the Chief Minister's cabinet colleagues including R S Rathore, Yunus Khan, Krishnendra Kaur Deepa and MLAs, and state BJP President Ashok Parnami were present during the hearing, the press advisor told PTI.

Media persons were not allowed access to the public hearing, the advisor said.
Hitting back at the opposition over its demand for Raje's resignation, Rajasthan BJP President Ashok Parnami asked whether former CM Ashok Gehlot had tendered his resignation on corruption charges levelled by his own MLAs.

"With what face Ashok Gehlot is demanding resignation of CM Vasundhara Raje when he did not resign on the corruption charges levelled by his own MLAs and rape cases in which his two ministers and MLA were allegedly involved", Parnami said in a statement here.

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