After an apparent truce between two top leaders Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot, now comes a mysterious Red Diary to haunt the ruling Congress in poll-bound Rajasthan.
The diary hit the headlines after the sacking of Army Welfare Minister Rajendra Singh Gudha, who claimed to be in its possession. According to him, the diary mentions alleged monetary transactions in the Rajasthan Cricket Association elections and Rajya Sabha elections by Gehlot's close aides during the political crisis of July 2020. The association is being headed by Gehlot's son Vaibhav Gehlot; and in the Rajya Sabha elections, Gehlot struggled to get the required votes for the party candidates.
The diary of secrets
Gudha did not reveal the 'secrets' of the diary but claimed that the diary mentions crores of rupees worth of transactions. "The diary is written by Dharmendra Rathod (a close associate of Gehlot). It has the names of Ashok Gehlot and his son. It has details of financial transactions, and the money given to MLAs. The money was ₹2-5 crore, not in lakhs," Gudha told the media after being sent out of the assembly on Monday.
Gudha alleged that Congress MLAs manhandled and pushed him and said that he wanted to speak about his dismissal and table the diary but was not allowed by the Speaker. He claimed that he secured the diary from the residence of Rathod during an income-tax raid on the instructions of Gehlot.
BJP ready to take advantage of the issue
The opposition BJP is all set to cash in on this issue as the party raised it from Delhi to Jaipur. The cyber cell of the party has been actively making Gudha's statement viral on every social media platform.
Gudha was sacked for his statement in the Legislature Assembly in which he said that the state government failed on the issue of crime against women. The statement came at a time when the Congress MLAs were protesting against BJP over the Manipur issue. Gudha even advised Congress to introspect instead of accusing BJP.
Gudha, a second-time MLA, is representing Udaipurwati constituency in Jhunjhunu district. He won the elections on BSP's ticket and joined Congress both times. Standing firm with Gehlot till September 2022, he supported the government in times of crisis. This earned him a berth in the Council Ministers in November 2021. However, he was unhappy with the portfolio assigned to him.
A loose cannon with an equally loose tongue
Last September, Gudha left the Gehlot camp and joined Sachin Pilot. He was vocal in Pilot's support and also joined his Padyatra in May this year. Known to be a loose cannon, Gudha made derogatory comments about senior Congress minister Shanti Dhariwal.
A few days ago, a widely circulated video showed him making a derogatory remark about goddess Sita. "The way Lord Ram and Ravan went mad over mata Sita’s beauty, I must have similar qualities that has made Gehlot and Pilot to chase me lately."
Gudha also launched a scathing attack on the Congress government and alleged that the dispensation had surpassed Karnataka's '40 percent commission BJP government' in corruption. While addressing a rally in support of Pilot in May, Gudha said, "Hamari sarkar ka alignment kharab ho gaya (Our government’s alignment has been disturbed). The record of corruption has been broken. There was an issue of 40 percent corruption in Karnataka. Our government has surpassed it."
Three days after Gudha was made minister, he drew comparisons between actress Katrina Kaif's cheeks and the roads in the his constituency. "In my constituency, the roads should be made like Katrina Kaif’s cheeks."