NEW DELHI: BJP’s Rajasthan poster boy Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Friday claimed that the tapes released by the Congress implicating him in horse-trading to topple the Ashok Gehlot government were doctored. The Congress, by levelling the allegations, has seemingly pitch-forked Shekhawat to a position of reckoning in Rajasthan politics.
Drifting from the central BJP’s stance to maintain silence over the Gehlot-Pilot feud — till the saffron outfit found it comfortable to step into the fluid political situation — Shekhawat was the only BJP leader in New Delhi commenting on the developments in Jaipur on the day Congress rebel Sachin Pilot was spurning his party’s overtures to buy peace with Gehlot.
On Friday, Shekhawat tweeted: “Yato Dharmastato Jayah”. Earlier, he told reporters that the voice in the tape wasn’t his and that he would cooperate with any investigations. Shekhawat’s has been a meteoric rise in politics, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi trusting him with the ambitious mega scheme to supply tap water to each home by handing over the reins of the Jal Shakti Ministry.
Modi had spotted his talent when Shekhawat, as Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, slogged harder than Cabinet minister Radha Mohan Singh. At 53, Shekhawat suited well in the BJP’s strategy to groom the next generation leaders in states which had been led by satraps for decades. Former BJP chief Amit Shah, sources said, found leadership potential in Shekhawat due to his accessibility and organisational and communication skills. Shekhawat justified the trust Modi-Shah had in him by trouncing Vaibhav Gehlot, son of CM Ashok Gehlot, from Jodhpur Lok Sabha seat.