Raje comes to Delhi but no audience with Modi, Shah (Roundup)

Jaipur/New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Amid vociferous demands for her resignation over her help to former IPL chief Lalit Modi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Saturday attended a NITI Aayog meeting in the capital but returned to Jaipur without getting an audience with either Prime Minister Narendra Modi or BJP chief Amit Shah.

The Congress continued to mount pressure for Raje’s resignation and asked the prime minister to follow “raj dharma” and not “Raje dharma”.

Lalit Modi, who had on Friday tweeted the names of some Congress personalities he had “met”, on Saturday praised the prime minister.

“Our PM is most savvy man. He does not need my advise. When he bats he will hit the ball out of the park.#respect only,” said Lalit Modi, who is facing cases of alleged tax evasion.

Raje is facing demands for her resignation over her testifying in writing in favour of Lalit Modi for a British immigration application with the Congress also accusing her of having “financial dealings” with the former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief.

Raje reached Delhi around 9.30 a.m. and spent close to four hours in the national capital. She also spent some time at her house in Delhi before flying back to Jaipur, sources said.

BJP sources said Raje had sought an appointment with Shah on Saturday to present her views on the controversy dogging her but was advised against doing so.

The sources said it was conveyed to Raje by Shah’s office that her meeting party leaders and the prime minister at this juncture will lead to speculation that she was offering explanations and also to interpretation in the media that her fate still hangs in the balance.

However, political analysts and some news channels viewed her not meeting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s top leaders as a snub.

Raje’s office swiftly reacted to reports that she failed to meet the party’s top leaders, saying she went to Delhi only to attend a NITI Aayog meeting and that nothing else was scheduled in the national capital.

“These reports are completely untrue and baseless. These are far away from truth. Verify before running or publishing reports,” said the statement from the chief minister’s media advisor.

A BJP functionary said Raje’s meeting with the central leadership could take place over the next few days.

BJP sources said the prime minister and Shah met late on Friday in the wake of Raje facing mounting pressure to resign and decided to back her.

They also decided that she would attend the NITI Aayog meeting.

A BJP functionary said it was decided to get an Interpol red corner notice issued against Lalit Modi which will entail his being detained in any country.

Congress spokesman Ajoy Kumar attacked the prime minister on Saturday over Raje not resigning and advised him to follow the path of “raj dharma”.

“We want to advise the prime minister to follow the path of raj dharma and shed Raje-dharma and Modi-dharma,” Ajoy Kumar told reporters here.

“Modi ji’s response on corruption, black money is very disappointing. He made jumlas (sarcastic remarks) on these subjects during polls,” he added.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal also sought the resignation of Raje along with that of External Affaris Minister Sushma Swaraj and Human Resource Minister Smriti Irani.

While Sushma Swaraj has been in the eye of a storm for facilitating British travel documents on “humanitarian grounds” for Lalit Modi, Irani is facing accusations over her educational qualifications.

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