Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot referred to himself as the “Pratham Sewak” of the people of Jodhpur and declared on Sunday that he would “earn money by performing magic tricks” if necessary but would “not let the people of Jodhpur down.”
The 72-year-old Congress leader was raised in Jodhpur by a family of working magicians.
He said this while addressing the crowd during the opening of Rao Jodha Marg, a freshly constructed road for the convenience of visitors to the Mehrangarh Fort from the fifteenth century.
Mr. Gehlot noted his contribution to Jodhpur’s growth while stating that he had been an MP for 42 years prior to that.
“What then was Jodhpur? No water means no train. But now it has infrastructure for water, power, trains, roads, and both health and educational systems. In these years, I left nothing to be desired,” he stated.
He claimed that if someone did research on Jodhpur, they would discover its history and discover both what Jodhpur was and what it is today.
He also wanted the Blue City to receive heritage designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
In preparation for the assembly election, Mr. Gehlot made a brief visit to his hometown where he lay the cornerstone for 44 projects totaling 1,000 crores and inaugurated 16 development projects worth 91 crores.
He also lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party for obstructing the state’s plans during the Congress administration, using the Rao Jodha Marg and a refinery project as examples.
“This road project was first announced by the previous Congress administration, but the BJP did not pursue it, which caused the project to be postponed. Similar to this, the BJP’s lack of interest in the refinery project caused it to be delayed and increased its cost from 39,000 crores to 72,000 crores, according to Mr. Gehlot.
According to him, this is a bad practise, and the current government should carry on and finish the projects started by the previous one.
Aimed at Mr. Gehlot’s statement about a magician, state BJP head CP Joshi claimed the chief minister had only performed magic acts during his time in office.
He said, “You are a fraud who is performing tricks by taking credit for the projects introduced by Centre,” and claimed that the Congress leader provides money to Central government programmes before changing their names.
What else could the sudden appearance of cash and gold from a cabinet in a government building be if not magic, Mr Joshi questioned.