Gehlot hits back at Modi over Alwar gang rape

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ignoring the facts and deliberately targeting him over the gang rape of a Dalit woman in Alwar district.

"The state government has already taken action in the matter. All the accused have been arrested. The SP was removed, the SHO was suspended and we will take all steps (needed)," Gehlot told reporters here.

On Mayawati's remarks on the incident, Gehlot said the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief leads the community and her reaction on a crime against a Dalit was natural and justified.

On Sunday, a full-scale war of words broke out between Modi and Mayawati over the incident, with the prime minister accusing the BSP supremo of shedding crocodile tears, a charge trashed by her as "dirty politics".

On April 26, six accused accosted the woman and her husband on the Thanagazi-Alwar bypass and took them to an isolated place, where they allegedly raped her in front of him. The case, which came to light last week, has sparked outrage.

Gehlot also referred to media reports that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Hem Singh Bhadana had gone to the victim's family to settle the matter. The Congress leader said he had asked officers to look into it, adding that appropriate action would be taken as per the report.

"PM Modi has personally targeted me on various occasions. Be it in election campaign in UP, MP or Rajasthan," Gehlot said. "When I was in charge of Gujarat, he misled and provoked farmers there against me. He had no moral right to come to Rajasthan and campaign."

The chief minister said several cases of rape happened during the previous BJP governments in the state. "A BJP MLA was involved in rape case in Uttar Pradesh, but Modi never talked about them," he added.

Claiming that institutions in the country were under pressure and controlled by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Gehlot dared it to become a political party.

"The RSS is deciding who will become the chief minister, a minister or a vice-chancellor. The RSS should declare itself a political party and then carry out its agenda," Gehlot said. "If they want to make a 'Hindu Rashtra', they should come out openly as a political party and let them say this."

Gehlot also advised RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to merge the organisation with the BJP.

"The Congress will talk about secularism and then the people will decide who should rule," he said.

Gehlot alleged that Modi wanted to win election by hook or by crook, and democracy and the Constitution were under threat under his rule.