JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said that winning assembly bypolls is important for the Congress party to give a message to those who tried to topple his government last year.
He said if the BJP wins the bypolls, its tally in the assembly will increase from 72 to 73 but if Congress wins, it will give a message and the government will carry out the developmental work and fulfil peoples' dreams.
Addressing a public meeting in Rajsamand constituency, which is among the three seats where bypolls will be held next month, Gehlot said the government aborted last year the bids to topple it and stands strong today.
The meeting was organised after the nomination of the party candidate Tansukh Bohra.
Similar meetings were organised in the two other constituencies Sujangarh (Churu) and Sahara (Bhilwara) where the party candidates filed nomination on the last day of nomination on Tuesday.
The Congress government had faced a crisis in July last year after a rebellion by former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs against Gehlot's leadership.
The Congress had accused the BJP leaders including Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of trying to topple the government by horse-trading.
"The Congress' victory will give a message to those who were making efforts last year to topple the government. You have seen the BJP's drama but we aborted their efforts. The public wanted that the Congress government should continue and it was this strength with which we defeated them," Gehlot said.
Gehlot said Leader of Opposition Gulabchand Kataria keeps on saying the Congress government will fall in six months and urged people to fail his prediction by voting for the Congress in bypolls.
Rajsamand seat was held by BJP's Kiran Maheshwari and the Congress has fielded a social worker, Tansukh Bohra, on this seat where Kiran Maheshwari's daughter Deepti Maheshwari has been fielded by the BJP.
AICC general secretary and party's Rajasthan unit in-charge, Ajay Maken, and former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot accompanied Gehlot and PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra to meetings in Sujangarh (Churu) and Sahara (Bhilwara) constituencies, but they were not able to attend the Rajsamand meeting.
As Maken had a flight from Udaipur in the evening, he along with Pilot left for Udaipur without attending the Rajsamand meeting.
During the Tuesday meetings elsewhere, all these four leaders hit out at the central government and the BJP on various issues including farmers agitation, inflation and fuel prices.
In the Sujangarh meeting, Gehlot claimed that the BJP is the richest political party in the world and the party has no dearth of money.
"They brought demonetisation and now these people have come with electoral bonds. We had hoped that the Supreme Court would ban the bonds, but it did not," he said in the public meeting in Sujangarh.
Gehlot said the BJP bags 95 percent of electoral bonds while the remaining five percent goes to the Congress, CPI, CPI (M) and the BSP.
"Imagine, if there is no equal fight in a democracy, how will the democracy be strong?" Gehlot asked.
He said a strong opposition should be there to strengthen the democracy.
PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra said the BJP is troubling farmers with agriculture laws.
"The way they are targetting farmers with agriculture laws and other people with inflation and rise in fuel prices, the BJP needs to be taught a lesson by people," he said.
Former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot said the BJP is a divided house from top to bottom and exuded confidence that the Congress party will win the bypolls on all three seats in the state.
He said the BJP will not be able to win in Assam and West Bengal assembly elections either.
Targeting the central government on agricultural laws, rising inflation and fuel prices, Pilot said it is necessary to give the BJP a befitting reply.
AICC general secretary Ajay Maken also addressed the rallies and sought support for the party candidates.
On the last day of nomination, party candidates Manoj Meghwal, Gayatri Devi and Tansukh Bohra filed nominations for Sujangarh, Sahara and Rajsamand bypolls respectively.
The ruling party has fielded former minister Master Bhanwarlal Meghwal's son from the Sujangarh assembly seat which fell vacant after his death last year.
Manoj Meghwal will be contesting the by-election from Sujangarh against BJP leader and former minister Khemaram Meghwal.
Bhanwarlal Meghwal, who was the state social justice and empowerment minister, died of a brain stroke in November.
For the Sahara assembly constituency, the Congress has fielded Gayatri Devi against BJP candidate and former MLA Ratanlal Jat.
This seat fell vacant after Gayatri Devi's husband Kailash Trivedi died in October of Covid-19.
Tansukh Bohara will be contesting the bypoll from the Rajsamand assembly constituency which fell vacant after Kiran Maheshwari died of the coronavirus infection in November last year.
The polling for these three constituencies will be held on April 17 from 7 am to 6 pm, and counting will take place on May 2.