RAJASTHAN chief minister Vasundhara Raje blamed the “situation” created by politicians and media for the recent death of a farmer, Gajendra Singh, at an AAP rally in Delhi. Terming the incident as ‘horrific’, Raje said Singh, a resident of Dausa in Rajasthan, belonged to a well-off family, and he slipped after being egged on by the people.
Speaking at the Express Adda here on Wednesday, Raje said: “Less than 20 per cent of Dausa was affected by the hailstorm. Somebody else wrote the suicide note because his father told me categorically that it was not his handwriting. He said they don’t have any problem in their farm, that they have vehicles standing in their driveway… Unfortunately, politicians created a situation where this man finally slipped and then nobody took responsibility.”
Stating that the media should also take responsibility for the incident, she said: “Good work can’t happen in districts and states if the media worries about TRPs. As good news doesn’t generate TRPs, media goes to any lengths to create bad news. Why did America not show us the gruesome details of 9/11? Why is it that anything that happens here, they rush to show it. Why can’t we sell TV and newspapers on good and happy headlines.”
Raje also underlined some of the key reforms that she has ushered in her second stint as the Chief Minister. Stating that she did not face protests on labour reforms, she said: “We said it is not about labour, but about creating jobs. We didn’t trample on the rights of labour, but made it better and created more opportunities.”
Defending her more controversial ordinance mandating minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting zilla parishad, panchayat and municipal elections, Raje said, “We found candidates when people said there wouldn’t be any. I now have a huge talent pool from IITs, IIMs… I am really proud as there is a team that can really make a difference.”
On the controversy surrounding her suggestion to convert the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) into a scheme, she said: “People have tried to make controversies out of nothing. During my election yatras, I thanked every single person who worked in NREGA. The assets built during my regime were built by NERGA workers. But it is not about lifting mud and throwing it, we have to create assets. Those have to get attached to government schemes.” She said her government has dovetailed everything, from irrigation, drinking water supply, roads, and panchayati raj, to it.
Referring to the controversy over her visit to Mumbai and meeting with industrialists, Raje assured that she was not trying to uproot the industries from the state. In the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, she said, “There is no taking industries from anyone. All we are saying is if you are wondering where to invest your next Rs 500 crore, come to us.”
Fadnavis, whose alliance partner Shiv Sena spearheaded the attack against Raje’s visit, said: “Competitive federalism is for the benefit of nation. I think those who say that someone is here to take away industries from us are undermining Maharashtra.”