Jaipur, Jan 22 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Rajasthan was facing a debt crisis because of its financial mismanagement and its functioning had led to severe stress on the agrarian sector, a senior functionary of the opposition Congress said.
“You (Vasundhara Raje government) spent two years criticising the previous Congress government, but this time there is financial mismanagement. There is absolutely no roadmap of getting the agrarian economy back on track,” Sachin Pilot, state president of the Congress, told IANS in an interview here.
“You are also shutting down social welfare schemes of the previous government, privatising everything and putting up a facade of ‘Resurgent Rajasthan’, where you claim lakhs of crores of investments coming into the state,” Pilot, 37, who completed two years as state Congress president on Thursday, claimed.
“Today, the state government is on the brink of a financial breakdown. It is having to extend overdraft limits to pay government salaries. The irony is that the BJP claims that it has lifted Rajasthan out of BIMARU state category. If that is the case, then why is the government coffers empty?” he asks rhetorically.
BIMARU is the epithet used in the past to denote economically weak states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and (erstwhile) Uttar Pradesh.
Pilot also said the BJP-alliance ruled central government was giving “stepmotherly treatment” to Rajasthan.
He said that the state government is not getting money for farmers’ relief while Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat had, adding that Rajasthan was suffering because of differences between the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The BJP government’s performance, he contended, could be gauged from declining vote share in every successive elections. “The BJP polled 56 percent in the Lok Sabha elections and in local body elections now their vote share is 47 percent. Congress polled 30 percent share in Lok Sabha polls and our vote share in local body election was 45 percent. So the vote share difference is hardly anything now,” he said.
He said there was a feedback across the state that the ruling BJP “has lost credibility and lost faith of the people.”
Pilot said he had toured over 1.30 lakh kilometres in the state in the last two years with an aim to boost morale of the party workers which was shaken after the party suffered one of its worst defeats in both the assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
“It is often said that those who sweat in peace time don’t bleed in war. I don’t think we should wait for elections to get the party machinery geared up. You have to travel. You have to interact, talk and connect to people. I like small meetings to reach out to people when there is no election. Election campaigns are different,” Pilot said.
The Rajasthan Congress chief said his two years on the post had been a challenging time but also rewarding to some extent.
“When I began, we were trying to come back from the most severe defeat the Congress had ever faced in an assembly election. We hardly had 21 MLAs out of 200 in the state. To come out of that shadow took some time and lot of hard work.”
The Congress now has 24 MLAs in 200-member assembly after wins in by-polls.
He rubbished reports of factionalism within the party, saying he had been quite “fortunate and lucky” to get support and guidance from the senior leaders in the party.
“We work for a commonality of objective which is that Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi and Rahulji want us to be in a position to serve the people of Rajasthan in 2018. I don’t think we could have been this strong in less than two years had it not been for their support and collective effort of everybody in Rajasthan,” Pilot said.
“People judge a party by its performance – whether in the government or opposition. Our performance in the opposition has been quite remarkable. We have been able to win the peoples’ heart and mind”, claimed Pilot.
(Anil Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)