A Rajasthan police notice to BJP legislator Chandrakanta Meghwal in a five-year-old assault case has further increased the political temperature in the state ahead of the June 10 Rajya Sabha polls. Meghwal was served the notice on Monday under section 41 (A) of Cr.PC and asked to appear at Mahaveer Nagar police station for questioning in connection with the case lodged under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDP) Act on Tuesday morning.
However, the MLA, who is camping in Jaipur with other MLAs of the party ahead of elections to the upper house, did not appear at the police station. After the notice, the opposition BJP has accused Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot of intimidating the MLA, but an aide of the chief minister dismissed the charge saying the case against Meghwal was registered when the BJP was in power. The case was lodged against Meghwal, who represents Keshoraipatan assembly constituency, at Mahaveer Nagar police station of Kota in February 2017. The notice issued by the police mentioned that the MLA was found involved in the crime during the investigation and faces seven years imprisonment. Both the political parties are trying to keep their flock together ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls.
The Congress had shifted its MLAs to Udaipur on June 2, saying it fears horse-trading by the BJP. Meghwal is among the legislators lodged at a resort in Jaipur outskirts for a ’training camp’ of the BJP. SHO of Mahaveer Nagar police station Pushpendra Jhanjadiya said that the MLA was directed to appear at the police station for investigation at 11 am on Tuesday but MLA Meghwal did not appear at the police station. Since the MLA did not appear at the police station on Tuesday, further legal action would be initiated in the matter, he added. The BJP targeted the Congress government over the development.
”First signs of panic in Congress camp in Rajasthan as far as Rajyasabha elections are concerned. BJP MLA was summoned by police in a five-year-old case. This will prove too much for CM Ashok Gehlot,” BJP national general secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh tweeted. BJP state president Satish Poonia warned Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot against ’’playing with fire”. ”Congress has morally lost the Rajya Sabha election and state Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is hatching a malicious conspiracy to intimidate BJP MLA in the name of action in cases. Don’t play with fire Gehlot Sahab. Elections will conclude on June 10, then?” Poonia tweeted. Reacting to the BJP state president’s comment, Lokesh Sharma, the officer on special duty to the chief minister, said it ill behoves Punia to use such words.
He said, ”When the case was registered against the MLA, there was a BJP government in the state. In such a situation, was there a ’malicious conspiracy done to intimidate’ then?” The Congress with its 108 MLAs in the 200-member state assembly is set to win two seats and will have 26 surplus votes, 15 short of the required 41 to win the third seat. Congress leaders claim the support of 126 MLAs, including 108 from the party itself. The party needs 123 MLAs to win three seats. The BJP has 71 MLAs in the state Assembly, enough to get one seat comfortably in Rajya Sabha this time. After that, it will have 30 surplus votes of MLAs which along with three of RLP (total 33) are set to go to independent candidate Subhash Chandra. He will need eight more votes to win the seat.