Monday, July 15, 2024

‘History will be created’: 7 guarantees set narrative in Cong’s favour, says Gehlot (IANS Interview)

With just four days left for the crucial assembly election, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said that seven guarantees have set the narrative in favour of Congress and history will be created as there is no anti-incumbency which will break the tradition of alternate party government in the desert state.

In an interview to IANS, the Chief Minister said that BJP has nothing to show when it comes to their report-card, as neither central government has done anything for Rajasthan nor previous BJP government brought any major change.

IANS: The seven guarantees have made the people to talk about Congress in the Rajasthan. Do you feel that the schemes of the state government will play an important role in the grand old party forming the government again?

Ashok Gehlot: Yes, seven guarantees have set the narrative in favour of Congress in Rajasthan. We had given 10 guarantees earlier and fulfilled all of them. We organised ‘Mehangai Raahat’ camps to give respite to people from price-rise. So, we have credibility and people trust us. People know that we do walk the talk. We will fulfill all the guarantees that we have given to the people.

IANS: The seven guarantees of the Congress focuses on an annual honorarium of Rs 10,000 to women head of family, cooking gas cylinders at Rs 500 to 1.05 crore families, purchase of dung from cattle rearers at Rs 2 per kg. How will you manage the same?

Ashok Gehlot: Congress believes in empowering people and transferring benefit directly to them. BJP has been empowering its favourite corporate and crony capitalists. They use public money to waive of their NPAs. We use public money to empower people economically. We know how a stream of funds is to be created. We will use the same money in providing a gas cylinder in Rs 500 to 1.05 crore families, Rs 10,000 to every woman head of the family and Rs 2 per kg to buy dung from cattle-rearer.

IANS: Among the seven guarantees are laptops or tablets to students taking admission in government colleges, insurance cover up to Rs 15 lakh per family to compensate losses due to natural calamity, and school education in English medium. How you plan to implement it?

Ashok Gehlot: Rajasthan has made lot of progress in last five years. We have no dearth of money. We will use public money for well-being of public. We did an exhaustive survey amongst students and their guardians to know how school education in Rajasthan can be improved. At least 99 per cent of them said they want their kids to be taught in English in the schools. This propelled us to introduce this guarantee. We need to give protection to our people from natural calamities. Sometimes, single bread-earners of the families have lost their lives in natural calamities. It is very painful to see families in destitute conditions. So, we have come up with a solution and we will arrange funds for it.

IANS: The Chirnajeevi Scheme provides insurance upto Rs 25 lakh has become one of the main talking points across the country. Do you think that this scheme will prove a game changer in the state in the elections?

Ashok Gehlot: Private hospitals have been charging exorbitantly from the patients. A common man is not able to afford quality treatment. It was very painful to see people dying just because they were not able to afford quality treatment. Then we thought to bring this scheme and introduce it as a guarantee. We fulfilled it. Now everyone in Rajasthan is getting a medical cover till Rs 25 lakh. It is five time of what central government is giving in Aayushmaan scheme.

IANS: Rajasthan has a tradition of alternate government for last three decades. Do you feel that the Congress government will form the government for the second consecutive term and change the tradition?

Ashok Gehlot: For once, there is no anti-incumbency. We have served the people in the best way possible. We are getting lot of love and support in Rajasthan. We firmly believe that this time, Congress government will be repeated and history will be created.

IANS: You announced the caste-based census ahead of the model code of conduct came into force in the state. Do you believe that the party will gain from the promises?

Ashok Gehlot: That was Rahul ji’s commitment towards social justice. We will fulfill that commitment too.

IANS: Central agencies actions ahead of the crucial assembly polls, including the searches at the premises of your state unit chief Govind Singh Dotasara and also summoning and questioning of your son Vaibhav. Will it help the Congress to gain grounds by defeating the BJP’s accusations of taking political mileage?

Ashok Gehlot: It is the central agencies and not the BJP who is contesting elections in Rajasthan. They have conducted thousands of raids to intimidate our leaders and people. They have found no evidence and not a single charge-sheet has been filed. That is because we have done no wrong. Our leaders are clean. People are watching this witch-hunt. They will give a befitting reply to the BJP.

IANS: BJP has been accusing your government over the poor law and order in the state. How you look at the accusations of the BJP?

Ashok Gehlot: BJP has nothing to show when it comes to their report-card neither central government has done anything for Rajasthan nor previous BJP government brought any major changes. They have nothing other than a blame-game. BJP’s accusations are nothing than rhetoric. We are contesting these elections on a positive agenda and what we did in last five years. So, people will vote for us.

Polling for 200 member assembly is scheduled on November 25 and counting of votes will take place on December 3.

Congress is eyeing a second consecutive term in Rajasthan which has a tradition of the alternate party government for last three decades.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at anand.s@ians.in)

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