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Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath responsible for stalling East Rajasthan Canal Project: BJP's Rajendra Rathore

Jaipur: Rajasthan BJP leader Rajendra Rathore on Monday targeted the Congress’ awareness campaign on the ERCP, saying Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath were responsible for stalling the canal project.

Interacting with reporters at the BJP headquarters here, Rathore, who is the Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly, said when Nath was the chief minister of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, he had refused to give a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to Rajasthan for the project.

Attacking Gehlot, Rathore said the state government is claiming to complete the project by 2051 and has announced to spend Rs 37,000 crores on it.

However, no work has been done till now, Rathore said, adding that Gehlot was not a chief minister but a ‘minister of announcements’.

He said the CM had talked about creating an ERCP Corporation and giving Rs 13,000 crore to it but not even a single penny has been spent on the project so far.

The then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath, was the first to object to giving an NOC to Rajasthan for the ERCP, after which Gehlot announced to build the project at the state’s expense, Rathore said.

The ERCP is an ambitious project that was first proposed by the previous BJP government in Rajasthan to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs of 13 districts — Jaipur, Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Dausa, Karauli, Alwar, Bharatpur, and Dholpur.

The Congress plans to emphasise its demand for national status to the East Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) as it kicked off its election campaign in eastern Rajasthan on Monday, with an aim to secure a substantial number of the 83 Assembly seats in the region.

A rally was held in Baran to launch the public awareness campaign on the ERCP and it was addressed by Gehlot and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge.

The 200-member Rajasthan Assembly will go to polls on November 25 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 3.

Rathore also alleged that the law and order situation in the state was ‘bad’ and in the last six months, charge sheets in only 25 per cent of the cases have been filed in courts.

Due to the policies of the Congress government, Rajasthan is in a state of economic emergency, he said and accused the state government of ‘cheating’ the common people in the name of schemes.

In response to a question on protests within the state BJP over ticket distribution, Rathore said most of the disputes have been resolved.

He said there was massive factionalism within the Congress party due to which it could not release the first list of candidates in September as announced earlier.

(Published 17 October 2023, 05:34 IST)

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