New Delhi: Amid a growing incidence of violence and clashes being reported in the poll-bound state, the ruling BJP in Rajasthan was in for some embarrassment on Wednesday when some its own MLAs cornered state Home Minister, Gulab Chand Kataria over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state during the ongoing budget session in Rajasthan Assembly.
While the opposition Congress has 25 MLAs in the 200-member House, it was some of the BJP MLAs who chose to question the state government.
The first BJP leader to open fire against his own Home Minister was Babu Singh Rathore, BJP MLA from Jodhpur’s Shergarh, who raised the issue of a caste conflict in Jodhpur’s Samrau village last month.
He hit out at the Rajasthan Police for failing to protect citizens and said, “Of what use are those police officers who do not protect the citizens? If the police are unable to protect the people, you (the government) should ensure that citizens get gun licenses so that at least they can take up arms to protect themselves and their families!”
Rathore blamed independent MLA Hunaman Beniwal for stoking caste violence and demanded that the state Home Minister make a statement on the floor of the House. Kataria responded to Rathore and said that a high-level probe team will submit a report on the issue of Samrau violence within a month and the guilty will be brought to book.
Rathore’s complaints against the police were followed by MLA from Alwar’s Ramgarh, Gyandev Ahuja.
Talking about rampant illegal mining being carried out in Alwar district, Ahuja said the Alwar Superintendent of Police (SP) was “autocratic and corrupt” and he was extracting bribes from every police station in the district and, in turn, allowing illegal mining to go on.
“Rs 15 lakh is being extorted in Alwar every month. So far, the government’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has only arrested the small fish such as constables, head constables and assistant sub-inspectors. However, the crocodiles are being let off. The Alwar SP is corrupt and I request the Home Minister to rid us of him,” said Ahuja. Here, too, Kataria promised to act against anyone found guilty.
Meanwhile, Kataria, during his speech, boasted of Rajasthan’s record of being “Number 1” in punishing the corrupt.
“In terms of the percentage of ACB cases in which punishment has been carried out, Rajasthan is the number one state in the country. Last year, 47% of all officials arrested by the ACB have been punished. On the national level, this figure is only about 12%,” said Kataria, defending his government.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who also holds the finance portfolio, is expected to deliver the state budget next week during the budget session.