Rushing into damage control after a minister from his cabinet vented out his anger against the state bureaucracy, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday said that the minister might have been under tension, and should not be taken seriously.
“He is under a lot of work pressure. He might have come under tension and made a statement, we should not take it seriously. I am yet to speak to him,” Gehlot said.
The remarks came a day after state sports minister Ashok Chandna expressed anguish over the conduct of Gehlot’s chief secretary, referring to him as the “minister of all departments”, and said he would prefer being removed as a minister.
Chandna made his displeasure public through a tweet, saying he does not want to hold on to the “dishonourable” ministerial post.
“I request the honourable chief minister to relieve me of this dishonourable ministerial post and give the charge of all my departments to Shri Kuldeep Ranka ji. He is anyway the minister of all the departments,” he tweeted in Hindi, without elaborating.
The development comes just days ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in Rajasthan and indicates resentment within the party. Just a week ago, Congress MLA from Dungarpur Ganesh Ghogra sent his resignation to Gehlot in protest against a police case against him.
BJP leaders latched onto Chandna’s tweet to attack the Congress government. “The ship is sinking…The trends for 2023 begin to arrive,” BJP state president Satish Poonia tweeted, attacking the screenshot of Chandna’s tweet.
“This is an example of the ‘governance’ of the Ashok Gehlot government. It shows the weakness of the party high command. It also shows the influence of bureaucracy on the government,” Poonia told PTI. “This has a pattern. Earlier, Ganesh Ghoghra sent resignation and now Chandna has offered the resignation. This impacts governance,” he said.
BJP MLA Vasudev Devnani said the ministers and MLAs do not have confidence in the Congress government of Rajasthan. “The minister is demanding freedom from this corrupt government. If this is the condition of the ministers in the government, then what would be the condition of the public,” he said.