Defiant Vasundhara Raje and Opposition attack put BJP in a fix

New Delhi,Iftikhar Gilani(dna): A defiant Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje coupled with sharpening attacks form the Opposition continued to keep the ruling BJP in a fix. The ruling party publicly took the stand that they were verifying documents related to Raje’s help rendered to the former IPL boss Lalit Modi. It is believed that the leadership has so far not taken any decision about her political future, as BJP president Amit Shah was getting two divergent pieces of advice — one asking him to sack her and another warning him not to act in haste as it may lead to the Congress pressure for removal of others as well notably external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. Further, Lalit Modi’s threats to expose more politicians are also weighing on the minds, lest the removal of Raje becomes a precedent.

Sources here said a defiant Raje is understood to have told the BJP leadership that she would not resign as she has done no wrong in helping former IPL boss. She is also understood to have conveyed that she enjoys support of majority of the party MLAs. Instead of visiting Delhi, she is dispatching her confidant cabinet minister, Rajendra Rathore, to go to Delhi on Friday to meet the central BJP leadership to apprise it of the ground situation and caution it that any attempt to remove her may cause a split in the party since Raje has confidence of majority of the party MLAs.

She is understood to have asked Rathore to convey that she had signed documents to help Lalit Modi in his immigration to Britain in her personal capacity and not as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan assembly, nor did she depose before any court in Britain. Moreover, the documents did not end up in helping Modi to make her an accused.

A section of party leaders here are pointing out that the Opposition would not allow Parliament to function if no action is taken against Raje and that will not only derail the government’s heavy legislative agenda but also sully the party’s image that in turn will impact the outcome of the Bihar assembly elections due in October.

Meanwhile, Congress sharpened its attack and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “deafening silence” and reluctance to act despite the damning evidence against his BJP colleagues. Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot wondered if Raje had the backing and approval of the BJP when she travelled all the way to London in 2011 and signed the affidavit supporting Lalit Modi for asylum in the UK.

He noted that not just Raje but a whole lot of the BJP leaders had actually travelled to London in July 2011. Was it a mission to help out Lalit Modi? He pointed out that Raje had gone in a delegation led by then BJP president Nitin Gadkari and which also included HRD minister Smriti Irani, who was then president of BJP Mahila Morcha.

Claiming that Raje has admitted signing the 18/8/2011 affidavit “as a friend of Lalit Modi” since after the Congress made public her signatures, Pilot said it is “immoral” for her to continue, nor can the BJP continue to live in denials. He asked the PM and the BJP to come clean. An ordinary citizen trying to help a fugitive of law would have landed in custody unlike the BJP leaders like Raje and Sushma Swaraj shamelessly going around as if they have done no crime, Pilot said.