Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has admitted that recent crimes, including those by cow vigilantes, against minorities in the state show Rajasthan in a bad light, but stressed that firm action will be taken against those behind the violence. “The law of the land prevails in Rajasthan, and the government will ensure the culprits are brought to book,” she said. In April, ‘gau rakshaks’ or cow vigilantes lynched a 55- year-old cattle trader, Pehlu Khan, in Alwar and injured four of his companions. Khan later succumbed to injuries. A month later, the desert state hit the headlines again when a video — showing Sikh men allegedly being thrashed by villagers in Ajmer — surfaced. “Rajasthan cannot be singled out. Such incidents are happening across India. But this government will not tolerate such crimes as it shows the state in a bad light,” Raje told PTI in an interaction. She said the administration acted “swiftly” and the perpetrators were arrested in the Pehlu Khan case.
The chief minister, who is due to complete her term next year, said, “We do not discriminate among people on any lines. In less than a week, the accused in the honour killing of a Kerala engineer were arrested and a thorough inquiry was also ordered into the Ajmer incident.” In a suspected case of honour killing, 28-year-old Amit Nair, a civil engineer, was shot dead last week allegedly by his in-laws here for marrying a Rajasthani woman. “Though our government did its part, the Kerala government is yet to speak out on the killings of BJP and RSS workers,” said Raje.
The CM said she planned to make development her party’s poll plank for the state Assembly elections. The Centre and the state were actively working for the people, she said, adding that her party, the BJP, was “likewise an active organisation”. The state had seen a “rapid” growth in every sector in the last four years, she said. “These factors will be crucial in ensuring our victory in the polls,” Raje said, adding that the BJP government had “inherited discoms crippled by debts running into crores of rupees from the erstwhile Congress government.”
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Bailing them out to put the crucial sector back on track was a “massive and uphill task”, she said. Siting an example of the coordination between the Centre and the state, Raje said, “Rajasthan’s road network by 2018 will be of 30,000 km. The state has already constructed 21,000 km of roads since the BJP formed the government in the state.”
Apart from its plans to highlight investments in industry and agriculture, the Raje government will heavily bank its poll campaigns on schemes such as the Mukhya Mantri Jal Swavlamban Abhiyan (MJSA), the Nyay Aapke Dwar (legal camps), the Bhamashah Yojana and irrigation schemes. “These are our flagship programmes. The MJSA is decreasing the dependency on canals and rivers, thus reducing the financial burden on the state,” she said. On the AAP looking to make its debut in the Rajasthan polls, Raje said she welcomed the party. “I welcome them. This is a democracy,” the chief minister said.