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'Pilot Forgot Paper Leak, Corruption After CWC': Rajasthan LoP Rajendra Rathore

On 'Badi Badi Baatein', Rajasthan LoP Rajendra Rathore talks Gehlot-Pilot war, paper leaks, and upcoming elections.

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Camera: Koustubh Mukherjee

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam, Mohd Irshad Alam

Rajasthan is all set to vote on 25 November, with the battle for the state being considered to be in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as per opinion polls so far.

While the state is predicted to continue the tradition of changing government every five years, the Congress's tenure was marred by allegations of corruption and paper leaks of government examinations.

Meanwhile, the tussle between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former deputy CM Sachin Pilot plays on the minds of voters across the state.

Rajendra Rathore, the Rajasthan Leader of Opposition is considered a force to reckon within the state's politics. Perceived as an exceptional orator to corner the government in the Assembly, Rathore denies being in the race to be the next chief minister, despite the chatter around him being one of the frontrunners.

On the new episode of 'Badi Badi Baatein', Rajendra Rathore talks about upcoming elections as he targets the Ashok Gehlot government over infighting, alleged corruption in paper leak scandals, and questions Sachin Pilot's silence after being promoted to the Congress Working Committee.

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Lots of 'Badi Badi Baatein' are happening for the elections. Do you think the BJP will win this time?

The kind of atmosphere that is observed and the undercurrent against the government that I can feel, I can say it with experience that the Congress is moving towards its most shameful defeat in Rajasthan's history. 

The government was riddled with conflict for five years. The A and B teams kept trying to outsmart each other. The curtains will fall on the fight for the chair when the government will fall. The movie called 'Kissa kursi ka' will keep running.

What issues did the government fail to address?

The biggest failures were law and order, atrocities against women, paper leaks. The farmers were promised waiver of loans and returning of their lands. There was chaos of corruption in Rajasthan

There are several issues like these. Two hundred people acted as 'mini chief ministers' and ran Rajasthan. These are the issues that defeated the common people and hence, they will be the defeat of this government.

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You spoke about paper leak. It is a big issue for the you that we realised when we spoke to scores of students. Do you think the Gehlot government did enough to address the issue?

They did nothing. Under this government's watch, the one whom they gave the status of a cabinet minister - Gopal Kesawat - he was appointed to the RPSC as an intellectual person. 

People like him were caught red handed. Another person was Bhupendra Saran who handles the social media of ministers. People resorting to burglary and all such jobs are close to the government. 

When the name of a coaching institute like Kalam gets dragged, the fingers are pointed towards the government. The loot from jobs that they were busy with is not hidden from anybody. It is the biggest weapon that the youth is standing with against them. That weapon will be the government's downfall. 

Sachin Pilot, too, had raised this issue. He had also raised the issue of appointments in the RPSC (Rajasthan Public Service Commission). Does the BJP also support these issues against the Congress?

He raised these issues, did a foot march, called it the Jan Sangharsh Yatra. He said that the wounds on the feet of the youth won't be for nothing. 

But he forgot everything after he was appointed to the CWC and started standing by the same government whose RPSC he had levelled allegations against. His issues are not sharp. They were just raised to elevate himself in the government and the people have understood that.

Do you think this divide between Gehlot and Pilot will play out in the minds of the voters when they cast their votes?

There was no government. The CM was busy tightening screws of his chair. The government was cornered by its own people.

The CM levelled allegations ranging from corruption to treason on his own deputy. He called him 'useless', 'shameless', and a 'traitor'. I don't need to say much about a government like this. The government was delusional, it was a government that traded dreams.

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There is resentment within many from the BJP after the candidates lists. How would you react to that?

There is no resentment. There are small things within the family. Everything is fine now.

There are reports of division and differences within the BJP too.

BJP is a cadre-based party. Division and differences is not in its culture.

The party has not yet declared a CM candidate. Would you take up the responsibility if the party asks you to? 

BJP is a cadre-based party. Division and differences is not in its culture.

 The party has not yet declared a CM candidate. Would you take up the responsibility if the party asks you to? 

I am not in the race for CM. I never was and I won't be in future. I don't consider myself worthy of this race. We have lots of people who are worthy. When we have a face as big as PM Narendra Modi who is admired globally, we don't need smaller faces (to contest elections). 

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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