Gehlot says his speech cancelled, PMO says no; Who’ lying

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday alleged the PMO has cancelled his speech at an event in Sikar where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate various development projects.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), however, said it was informed by Gehlot’s office that he will not be able to attend the programme. It also said he was “most welcome” to join the programme.

Who is lying?

Modi will inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of various development projects in Sikar on Thursday, according to an official statement.

Taking to Twitter, Gehlot said he was welcoming Modi to Rajasthan through his tweet as he would not be able to do so through his speech.

“Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, today you will be visiting Rajasthan. Your office, PMO, has removed my pre-scheduled three-minute address from the programme, so I will not be able to welcome you through the speech. I heartily welcome you to Rajasthan through this tweet,” the chief minister said in Hindi.

Replying to Gehlot’s tweet, the PMO said he has always been invited to the prime minister’s programmes in the state and his presence at the Sikar event will be “deeply valued”.

“Shri @ashokgehlot51 Ji, In accordance with protocol, you have been duly invited and your speech was also slotted. But, your office said you will not be able to join. You are most welcome to join today’s programme.

“During PM Modi’s previous visits as well you have always been invited and you have also graced those programmes with your presence. Your name is very much there on the plaque of the development works as well. Unless you have any physical discomfort owing to your recent injury, your presence will be deeply valued,” the PMO said.

During his visit to Sikar, Modi will dedicate 1.25 lakh PM Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PMKSK) to the nation and launch “Urea Gold”. He will also address a public meeting in Sikar, according to the official statement.

He will inaugurate six Eklavya Model Residential Schools located in Udaipur, Banswara, Pratapgarh and Dungarpur districts of Rajasthan. He will also inaugurate Kendriya Vidyalaya Tiwari, Jodhpur during the programme, the statement said.

Further in his tweet, Gehlot listed demands that “I would have put forward through my speech at the programme” and hoped that the prime minister would fulfil them during his “seventh visit (to the state) in six months”.

He demanded the withdrawal of the Agniveer scheme for recruitment in Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Rajasthan government has waived cooperative bank loans worth Rs 15,000 crore of 21 lakh farmers. It has sent a one-time settlement proposal to the Centre to waive nationalised bank loans and offered to pay farmers’ share. This demand should be fulfilled, he said.

The chief minister also said the Rajasthan Assembly has passed a resolution for conducting a caste census and sent it to the central government.

The Centre should take a decision on this without any delay, he added.

Gehlot also demanded national project status for the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP).