Sifting the Prime Minister’s lies from truth, says Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, is a difficult task; as difficult, he goes on to add, as clothing a mosquito or an ant or like making an elephant sit on one’s lap.
The acerbic statement was greeted with cheers and laughter but surprised political observers in Rajasthan. Because the Rajasthan chief minister is not known to make personal attacks on political rivals, least of all the Prime Minister of the country
But everyone agrees that he had reasons to be provoked. As in other non-BJP ruled states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi jeered and lampooned the chief minister. Gehlot, the Prime Minister jeered, could not deliver seats to his party but is now begging for votes for his son.
A hurt Gehlot hit back, mildly but firmly, at an election rally in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Did it behove a Prime Minister to attack chief ministers, he wondered. Aren’t chief ministers also elected leaders? Haven’t they been chosen by their party to lead the state Government, Gehlot asked.
At Chomu near Jaipur, Gehlot was as aggressive as he could be, given his temperament. “What authority does the Prime Minister have to speak ill of chief ministers and drag their family into the political discourse …is he not aware of the high office that he holds? How dare he make such remarks,” he went on to ask.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s jibe at him for canvassing votes for his son, Gehlot was even more scathing. “What does the Prime Minister know of family, having decided against raising one? What does he know about having a son?”
He appears to have silenced his critics within the party as well as in the BJP by aggressively putting the poser, “What wrong did I commit by campaigning for my son?”
Earlier Gehlot in various election speeches had described Narendra Modi as a “dictator’ dividing the nation and society in the name of ‘Rashtravad’( nationalism).