Gehlot may have BJP on edge, but his report card is riddled with red marks

Jaipur, Jun 4 (IANS): Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has completed four-and-a-half years of his tenure, and has tried to make a mark with his flagship schemes like OPS, Chiranjeevi, RGHS among others.

The veteran Congress leader has been talking of his social security schemes, and according to sources, that has started ringing some alarm bells in the opposition camp.

Gehlot, initially, projected the 'Bhilwara model' during the Covid pandemic, and then claimed to have created a 'successful Rajasthan model'.

However, amid the pangs of the pandemic, a rebel by his own party members led by his deputy Sachin Pilot hit him out of the blue, and the senior Congressman somehow managed to save the ship of his government from sinking.

All his loyalists supported him by camping in hotels during that phase of the political crisis and he rewarded them by making them the 'Kings of their constituencies'.

While the MLAs were given a free hand, reports of corruption and crime in the state also began emerging.

In fact, Rajasthan has been second in the unemployment index.

Paper leaks in Rajasthan have become a major issue and lakhs of youths are irked of being unemployed despite attempting exams, only to face disappointment as the exams got cancelled.

Analysts believe there are two sides of Gehlot's governance -- on one hand, there is good leadership, good schemes, mass approach and a vision, and on the other, there is lack of governance, unchecked rate of unemployment and grievance among masses over several issues.

This current tenure of CM Gehlot has been quite shaky, with his party leaders threatening him and challenging him for one or the other issue.

Gehlot, in fact, has been in the chair for the third time in the last 22 years.

As a first-time CM from 1998 to 2003, Gehlot struggled to manage his government.

He, in fact, faced challenges in his previous two stints as well. However, unlike the current tenure, none of them were within own party.

During his first tenure as CM from 1998 to 2003, Gehlot struggled to manage a state afflicted with severe drought as well as the longest-ever strike (64 days) of government employees that ultimately spelled his government's doom.

He has been speaking about this incident, and hence, he "cares for employees the most". OPS comes in this context.

When he returned as CM for the second time from 2008 to 2013, Gopalgarh riots (Bharatpur) and controversial land deals allegedly linked to Robert Vadra put Gehlot in the line of fire.

However, on both the occasions, he fought like a seasoned politician and combated attacks from the opposition led by the BJP, while the Congress members stood by him.

Meanwhile, the current tenure stands different. While the opposition BJP has been lacking in its firepower, the strongest volleys against him have come from his party mates, including Sachin Pilot.

According to an observer, "no wonder the state has suffered on almost all fronts, and not just in development or job creations".

"The state's law and order has been the worst affected... apart from the Kanhaiya Lal case, terrorists, riot mongers, gangsters and petty criminals are striking all over," he said.

An analyst said: "When it comes to giving a report card to Gehlot, it will be 5 out of 10, while five have been given for his ambitious flagship schemes which have been designed keeping the masses in mind, the next five cannot be given to him as he lacks on fronts like job creation, checking crime nexus which played with the future of lakhs of unemployed and a huge anti-incumbency which has come along due to lacklustre approach of his own ministers who are not ready to meet or listen to the needy."

"While the CM is busy hopping from one place to another, many of his ministers are yet to come out of their comfort zones. So, five out of ten is all for Gehlot's performance and not for his team," the analyst added.



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