Congress veteran and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday questioned the prime minister’s silence on the allegations of sexual harassment against the chief justice of India and said the judiciary is in crisis but Narendra Modi is unfazed. Two days after the prime minister addressed his first poll rally in the Jodhpur Lok Sabha segment, Gehlot targeted Modi for deflecting attention from “real issues”, including the raging crisis in the Supreme Court.
The Congress has fielded Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot against the BJP’s Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is trying to bring Prime Minister Modi back to issues, the chief minister said before embarking on a daylong campaign to canvass votes for his son.
“We are asking the PM about what is his policy on economy, farm crisis and foreign affairs. The Supreme Court is disturbed. The entire nation’s judiciary is concerned. There is a crisis in the judiciary never seen before and the prime minister is silent,” he asserted.
A former Supreme Court staffer has alleged she was sexually harassed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi. Gogoi said the charges are “unbelievable” and part of a conspiracy by some “bigger force” to “deactivate” the CJI’s office.
The senior Congress leader said the prime minister and the government should have taken very seriously the issue of four top judges of the Supreme Court holding a press conference last year. Had he handled the situation better, the current crisis could have been avoided, Gehlot said.
The prime minister and the law minister should discuss and find a way out of this crisis, he suggested.
The entire country’s judiciary is concerned… this situation poses a major challenge for democracy, Gehlot told reporters.
Hitting out at Modi for the jibe that he was moving around in the streets of Jodhpur to help his son, Gehlot accused the prime minister of insulting a duly-elected chief minister.
“The prime minister is elected by the people and I am also elected chief minister by the people of Rajasthan through democracy. Modi ji is saying all kinds of things against me only to win elections. This does not behove a prime minister. Is it fair to target an elected chief minister? Who gave him the right to insult the seven crore people of Rajasthan who duly elected me…He can fall to this level only to win elections,” he alleged.
On Modi’s charge that he was found more in Delhi before the top Congress leadership than in the state, the Rajasthan chief minister said, “Modi ji is spying on me as he is more aware of my whereabouts. Spying is against the law.”
Gehlot launched an all-out attack on Modi, saying he should have drawn lessons from former prime ministers like Indira Gandhi by taking opposition leaders along with him to do something good for the country in his five years of rule but has instead done only jumlebaazi and self promotion.
Modi has in his poll rallies in southern Rajasthan launched a fierce attack on Gehlot in his bid to woo voters in the state ahead of the April 29 and May 6 elections in the state.
Gehlot later told the people at his poll rallies that this election is important for Rajasthan as it will strengthen his government in ushering a new era of development to take the state forward.
Urging people to vote for the Congress, Gehlot said it will help his government, elected three months ago, to work harder for public good.
Gehlot has addressed three rallies in Falaudi, Pali and Kudi Bhagatasani and another three in Jodhpur city for his son Vaibhav.