Last Friday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sacked Rajendra Singh Gudha as a minister in his government, hours after the latter criticised his own government in the Assembly over crimes against women. Gudha also asked the ruling Congress party to introspect about the crimes happening in the state, instead of talking about Manipur. Gudha's statement was hailed by the opposition BJP, with its MLAs chanting “Shame! Shame!".
Gudha held the portfolios of Sainik Kalyan (Independent Charge), Home Guard and Civil Defence (Independent Charge) and Panchayati Raj and Rural Development department.
Gehlot's rare display of anger
By sacking a minister in his own cabinet, Gehlot has shown a rare display of anger and made it clear that he cannot tolerate anyone going against the government. The characteristic of Gudha, famous for shifting sides, could have also been another reason.
The last time Gehlot acted in a similar fashion was when he sacked two cabinet ministers during the political crisis for siding with Sachin Pilot. However, both Ramesh Meena and Vishvendra Singh were reinstated in the cabinet after a few months.
However, in this case, it was not Gudha's first public criticism of Gehlot. Since last year, Gudha had been vocal against the Gehlot government, despite being his closest ally formerly. During the political crisis of 2020, when there was a feud in the Rajasthan Congress, Gudha was seen openly supporting Gehlot. But in 2022, he had switched camps by siding with the Sachin Pilot camp. It became evident during the one-day protest of Pilot in Jaipur in May, in which Gudha not only participated but also made a public statement that the Rajasthan government has crossed all limits of corruption.
Gudha had said, "In Karnataka, the corruption charges over Congress was 40 per cent (commission) but in Rajasthan Congress, the government here has gone beyond that.”
Gudha was one of the six MLAs who had joined the Congress in 2019, after leaving the BSP. Earlier also in 2008-13, he had supported the Gehlot government. Last year, Gudha made a public statement about his dissatisfaction with the distribution of ministerial berths among his colleagues.
Gehlot should quit as a home minister: Gudha
A day after being sacked, Gudha told the media, 'I shall speak everything on record in the Assembly. The Rajasthan government has lodged fake cases against me. I am not taken aback by what happened yesterday, as I know, the government cannot tolerate truth".
"I shall stick to what I said. There is no harm in being concerned over what is happening in Manipur, but how can our ministers turn a blind eye to the bad state of law and order happening in Rajasthan".
Further criticising Gehlot and accusing him of being unable to deliver as a home minister, Gudha said, "It's high time that the chief minister should hand over the ministry to someone else. He doesn't come to the Assembly, he is sitting at home with bandages on his feet. The state police are busy collecting money. The daughters and mothers are not safe in the state".
Meanwhile, CM Gehlot held a press conference on Saturday at his residence at Civil Lines where he cornered Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh for admitting that over 100 incidents of rape have taken place in his state.
Gudha evicted from Assembly
On Monday, the ousted Rajasthan minister alleged that he was manhandled by Congress MLAs in the assembly.
In visuals from inside the Assembly, Gudha was seen showing a red diary to Speaker CP Joshi. Gudha had earlier claimed that CM Gehlot had tasked him to get a red diary from a Cong leader's house during the I-T raids of 2020.
Speaker CP Joshi directed marshals to evict 55-year-old Gudha from the House. After his eviction, Gudha was not allowed to enter even the building. He was stopped by marshals who surrounded him.