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Rediff.com  » News » 'If there was nothing in the red diary, why did they snatch it from me?'

'If there was nothing in the red diary, why did they snatch it from me?'

By SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF
Last updated on: July 27, 2023 11:00 IST
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'They could have told the media that there is nothing in it and let me read it out.'

IMAGE: Rajendra Gudha with the red diary as he speaks to the media in Jaipur, July 24, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

Rajendra Singh Gudha, the Congress MLA from Udaipurwati in Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan, startled citizens of the desert state when he told the assembly that women in Rajasthan are not safe.

The statement came at a time when the Manipur video showing women being disrobed and paraded naked by a mob had gone viral and the Congress had mounted a full-scale offensive on the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre over the issue.

Soon after his statement, Gudha was sacked as a minister by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and removed from the party for anti-party activities.

When he entered the Rajasthan assembly on Monday he was heckled by Congress MLAs who snatched away a red diary, which he held in his hand, threatening to make its contents -- which he said could implicate Gehlot and others -- public.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com spoke to Gudha about what the red diary contains.

Gudha was elected as a Bahujan Samaj Party MLA in the 2018 assembly election. He shifted allegiance to the Congress at a time the Gehlot government fell short of a simple majority.

 

Your statement of 14 seconds in the assembly, where you said women in Rajasthan are not safe just like in Manipur, shook Chief Minister Gehlot enough to sack you.
What was going on in your mind when you made that statement, because it was tantamount to criticising your party's government in which you were a minister?

I am an MLA from Shekhawati in Rajasthan where we have three districts. The late BJP chief minister, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and I share the same surname though I use Gudha as surname which is the name of my village.

My ancestors went to war over the issue of women's honour and dignity. Thousands died and three generations of my family members died in that war in the ancient days.

Therefore, when they were speaking about women's safety in Manipur, I felt that it was time for me to speak on women's safety in Rajasthan as they are not safe in my state too. I just mentioned this fact and I was dismissed from the party and sacked from my minister's post.

Did you not feel it was wrong for you to criticise your party in the assembly and if you had issues you could have raised it within the party fora?

I was not criticising the Rajasthan Congress government. I have won three assembly elections and I don't need any party to win the election. Last time I won my assembly seat on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket before joining the Congress.

And when my sisters have voted for me in my constituency ,how could I keep quiet when there are rapes and murders of women every day in Rajasthan? I stated a fact.

But Rajasthan does not top the list for crimes against women in India, if I am not mistaken.

After I was dismissed from my post the next day a girl was murdered in my constituency.

Law and order is very bad in Rajasthan.

These kinds of cases are occurring every day in Rajasthan. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot holds the home portfolio. He has no time for the home minister's post and it is bureaucrats who are running the show.

Did you ever speak about the law and order situation to Gehlot before making that statement in the assembly?

I told him that all the good work done by him is going down the drain because the women of Rajasthan are not safe.

In my own constituency women are very literate and they do not vote as their husbands tell them. They have their own mind and if we do not improve the law and order situation women will not vote for us. I informed this to Ashok Gehlot personally.

Why did you go to the speaker's well and shout, which led to your suspension from the assembly for this session?

I was a minister in the Rajasthan government and I had a separate seating arrangement in the House. Now, when they sacked me from my post, I had no place to sit in the assembly. I wanted a chair as an MLA to sit in the assembly.

I therefore went to the speaker and asked him, where is my chair? I told him I wanted to speak, but he did not give me time to speak. I had no mic or seat to sit.

You have been mentioning a red diary since your sacking. You even brought it to the assembly which Congress MLAs snatched away from you.

I wanted to read the contents of the red diary in the assembly. But before I could do that the Congress ministers and MLAs snatched away my red diary.

What is written in the red diary?

If there was nothing in it, why did these ministers snatch my diary?

They could have told the media that there is nothing in it and let me read it out. But they did not let me do so.

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SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com