The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP sniffs cash stink in trip

Jaipur, June 30: The BJP has alleged that the ostensible purpose of chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s visit to the US is to raise election funds.

Rajasthan BJP spokesperson Kali Charan Saraf accused Gehlot of maligning the Vajpayee government by alleging that it had denied him permission for the trip. Gehlot is scheduled to go to the US to attend the Rajasthani Sammelan organised by expatriates.

A spokesperson of the state government today confirmed that Gehlot’s visit got the Centre’s nod last evening.

Pressure mounted on Gehlot from another flank, too, with Rajasthan High Court seeking clarifications on how the US visit will benefit the state. The court had pursued the matter on its own following media reports on Gehlot’s tour plan.

The BJP spokesperson lashed out at Gehlot for launching a systematic campaign to “malign the Centre despite getting timely approval to visit the US”. The visit was unlikely to attract any industrial investment as was being claimed by the government, he said.

“The real purpose of Gehlot’s visit to the US is to raise funds from expatriate Marwaris for the forthcoming elections,” Saraf alleged.

The foreign ministry’s initial reluctance to clear Gehlot’s trip had triggered a controversy with the Congress accusing the Centre of being biased against its chief ministers. Before Gehlot, Madhya Pradesh’s Digvijay Singh and Delhi’s Sheila Dikshit had been denied permission to go abroad.

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