Raje returns to Jaipur; No meeting with BJP leadership

RSTV Bureau

Sushma-and-RajeBattling the heat of Lalit Modi controversy, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje reached New Delhi early on Saturday morning. She had come to the national capital to attend the sub-committee meeting of NITI Aayog and left soon after the meeting was over. Earlier there were reports that Rajasthan CM will likely be meeting the BJP top brass but soon after the NITI Aayog meet she left for Jaipur without meeting any senior leader.

In the last two days, the ruling BJP has decided to throw its weight behind Raje with state level leaders holding a press conference on Friday refuting with all the charges levelled against her. The Rajasthan CM is facing allegations of helping out controversial Lalit Modi, former boss of the popular cricket tournament IPL, in his immigration to UK on conditions of secrecy from Indian authorities.

And in the latest round of attack, opposition Congress party has alleged “quid pro quo” on part of Raje with Lalit Modi in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for setting up a cancer hospital in Jaipur between her government and the Portuguese facility where Modi’s wife was treated.

Raje’s son Dushyant Singh is also under attack over the allegations of his company receiving Rs 11.63 crore in investments from Lalit Modi in 2008. Dushyant Singh is BJP Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan. And on Friday, the Congress party went on claiming that Raje was a direct beneficiary of this investment made by Lalit Modi for she too owns nearly 3,000 shares in her son Dushyant’s firm Niyant Heritage Hotels Limited. The party had cited the copy of her 2013 election affidavit having the details of her share-holdings to embolden its claims.

But the ruling BJP and its state unit in Rajasthan rejected all the charges.

“All allegations against Raje are baseless. By levelling such allegations, Congress is indulging political vendetta against her and targeting decades-old family relations between her and Lalit Modi,” the state BJP chief Ashok Parnami said in a presser on Friday evening.

However, the Congress party is not letting the heat off the matter as they continue to persist on its demand of Raje’s resignation.

“With the latest document coming out that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje signed an affidavit supporting the fugitive Lalit Modi, it has become untenable for Raje to continue as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan,” Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot had earlier said.

With the controversy giving opposition, especially the Congress party, an opening to even target Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the incumbent BJP went into the huddle on Friday. Party president Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on Friday night and is understood to have discussed the party’s strategy over controversy. The meeting between PM Modi and Shah took place at the Prime Minister’s official residence in New Delhi.

And earlier in the day, Amit Shah also met with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The latter had also separately held a meeting with Prime Minister on Friday.

Apart from Rajasthan CM Raje, Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is also facing allegations of helping out former IPL boss Lalit Modi with his travel papers last year at the time when his passport was under revocation by the Indian authorities. The Congress party is demanding her resignation too.

But BJP-led Central government while dismissing the demands for their resignation has also decided to back its ministers, at least for now.

“There is nobody who is tainted please,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said on Thursday.

(With inputs from the PTI)