Storm in the tea-cup

Congress MLAs write to Sonia, demand Bharat Singh’s removal as minister

JAIPUR: Congress legislators led by parliamentary secretary Rajendra Singh Bidhuri have demanded removal of cabinet minister Bharat Singh, accusing him of nursing anti-Gandhi family sentiments and challenging the party high command’s decisions.

The party’s 10 legislators have written a letter to Sonia, targeting Singh for his alleged remarks made at the Congress legislative party (CLP) meeting last week. The letter points out that minister Singh allegedly objected to the suggestion that the Congress legislators ought to defend Sonia’s son-in-law Robert Vadra should the opposition BJP target him in the state assembly. It is alleged that Singh objected to the suggestion saying it was Sonia family’s personal matter and the party should not be involved in it.

“We (Congressmen) get votes in the name of Gandhi family. How can someone object to the party defending the family’s member, especially when the opposition is illegally targeting the member to hit at the Congress,” Bidhuri said, while confirming about the letter and its contents to TOI on Monday.

The parliamentary secretary even targeted chief minister Ashok Gehlot for allegedly keeping quite while the minister was engaged in heated arguments with him (Bidhuri) over the ‘Vadra defense issue’.

Bidhuri also alleged that the minister called him an “outsider” in Rajasthan. “The party high command gave me the ticket to contest election from here. The people of this state voted me to the assembly. Who is he to call me an outsider? Is he challenging the authority of the party leadership that fields candidates following a set procedure acceptable to all?” asked Bidhuri.

The letter mentions that Singh, who is the public works department minister, has allegedly been involved in anti-party activities since long. “This is not the first time when Bharat Singh ji has stayed away from the party. During the last budget session, he praised former prime ministerAtal Bihari Vajpayee for building roads and ignored the development works done by Congress’s late prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi,” the letter reads. It further states, “He is the same minister who routinely stays at the residences of senior BJP leaders, thereby demoralizing the local Congress leaders.” The complaints have blamed minister Singh for the cross-voting by Congress pradhans in Kota that led to a BJP member getting elected the zila pramukh.

Speaking to TOI, Bidhuri recounted that at a CLP meeting held at chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence two years ago some senior Congress leaders objected when he (Bidhuri) repeatedly praised the Gandhi family for its sacrifices for the country’s development. “On both the occasions (the CLP now and earlier), the chief minister maintained silence and did not ask such legislators to shut up,” said Bidhuri.

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