Politics over power crisis intensifies as ruling and Opposition leaders exchange barbs

BJP state president Satish Poonia said Gehlot was trying to blame the Centre and the BJP for his failure to manage the power crisis
Last Updated 30 April 2022, 03:16 IST

Politics over alleged power outages due to a shortage of coal supply intensified in Rajasthan on Friday as the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP leaders exchanged barbs over the issue.

Terming power outage a "national crisis", Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed concern over the alleged shortage of coal supply in the country amid the increase in electricity demand during summer.

He said the power demand has increased in 16 states due to the rising mercury levels while no adequate quantity of coal is being supplied and it is affecting the power generation.

"This is a national crisis. I appeal to everyone to unite in this crisis and support the government in improving the situation. Turn off non-essential electrical appliances at your home or workplace. Set your priorities and use electricity in accordance with your need," Gehlot said in a tweet in Hindi.

He also condemned the Rajasthan unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party for putting pressure on the employees of the power distribution companies by staging protests as the BJP on Friday held protests across the state outside electricity offices.

"In Rajasthan, the BJP is putting pressure on the electricity department employees who are doing their work in a challenging atmosphere amid the power crisis, by staging demonstrations," the veteran Congress leader said.

"It is the Centre’s job to provide coal to states. Will the directionless state BJP leadership ask the Centre why is it not able to provide coal in accordance with the demand, due to which there has been a crisis in 16 states?" he asked.

Soon after his remarks, BJP state president Satish Poonia said Gehlot was trying to blame the Centre and the BJP for his failure to manage the power crisis.

"I think the power crisis surfaced in Rajasthan due to the state government’s failure to manage it but the chief minister wants to blame the Center and the BJP," he said.

He said the DIPR letter dated April 24 had stated that there is no shortage of coal in Rajasthan.

The letter exposes the words and deeds of the chief minister, he said.

The students in the state are suffering from power cuts during the exam season and common people, farmers and traders of the state are suffering in this scorching heat.

Deputy leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore also held a press conference on the issue and accused the state government of being responsible for the power crisis in the state.

He said Chief Minister Gehlot should take cognisance of the severe crisis instead of blaming the BJP for pressurising power department employees through its protests.

"The chief minister in his budget speech had announced slabs for a rebate in electricity bill and promised that farmers will get electricity during day time but if there is no electricity, how will the people be benefitted," Rathore said.

He said the state’s power distribution companies are facing a loss of Rs 90,000 crore which is a matter of concern.

On the other hand, Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra said how can Rajasthan be accused of mismanagement when 16 states were suffering from power outages due to the lack of adequate coal supply by the Centre.

"It seems there is a conspiracy to benefit some capitalist people. It is the Centre’s responsibility to provide coal to the states. Out of 173 plants in the country, 106 plants have either 10 to 15 per cent coal or have exhausted their fuel,” he said.

Dotasara said it has become the BJP’s habit to put the onus on the states, ignoring the Centre’s faulty policies whether it be on the Covid management or the inflation.

He said the BJP only knows how to pitch brother against brother and cause religious polarisation to harvest votes.

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(Published 29 April 2022, 16:44 IST)

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