Rift within the Rajasthan unit of the BJP became clear on Monday after a veteran saffron party MLA, Ghanshyam Tiwari publicly humiliated the chief minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia.
Tiwari, who was meant to be felicitated on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the former vice president, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, said he would not like to receive the honour at an event, where Raje was presiding as chief guest. He said that Raje had been personally vindictive against her after he raised the issue of corruption in her government.
The event was organised to felicitate nine long-serving legislators in the state.
Earlier on Monday, Tiwari had also joined the Congress and the NPP in opposing the controversial Rajasthan government ordinance, and the corresponding bill, to protect judges and public servants from being investigated without its prior sanction.
“This is a ‘kala kanoon’ (black law) and I am against it,” the senior BJP MLA told reporters on the Assembly premises.
Led by Leader of the Opposition Rameshwar Dudi, the Congress legislators, their mouths covered with black bands, took out a protest march from the MLA quarters to the Assembly building.
Holding placards and shouting slogans against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the MLAs entered the Assembly premises and accused the BJP government of patronising corruption.
The government’s move to bring the ordinance and now a bill clearly shows that it has no respect for democracy and is working against the principles of democracy, Dudi told reporters.
He alleged that the government was also trying to strangulate media. Dudi said that the opposition would protest in the Assembly and outside.
NPP MLA Kirori Lal Meena said that his party was with the Congress on this issue. “The government’s move will only push corruption in the state and I also oppose the bill,” he was quoted by PTI.
Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria today tabled the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017, which seeks to replace the September 7 ordinance, in the Assembly.
The Rajasthan government had last month promulgated the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, that seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on- duty action, without its prior sanction.
It also bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is given by the government.
The move has caused outrage across India with political parties and civil society members joining the chorus to condemn Raje government.