After the Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot stirred controversy ahead of the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), the BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia while speaking to Republic TV described Gehlot’s intentions as a “hollow exercise”. The Rajasthan Chief Minister had said that the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is the place where thinkers across the world come and do “Kaam Ki Baat” along with “Mann Ki Baat”, suggesting that the annual literary festival will give space to dissent. Reacting to this, Bhatia pointed out how Congress crushed dissent during their tenure in the country.
While speaking about CM Gehlot’s statement, the BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia said, “This exposes the Congress completely and their so-called protests for freedom of speech, talking about the Constitution, reading the Preamble. All of this is a hollow exercise. From within, the Congress has believed in crushing the voices of dissent. In Shaheen Bagh, you see that the people like Mani Shankar Iyer go to the protests and use foul words for the elected Prime Minister of the country. This becomes their freedom of speech. They can abuse there?”
Taking a dig at PM’s monthly radio show ‘Mann Ki Baat’, CM Ashok Gehlot said, “JLF is the pride of Rajasthan, it has carved a place for itself in the world. Everyone is in awe of it. I hope the festival will inspire the new generation. It is being talked about across the world. All the literary people discuss this festival, they feel at JLF they will get a chance to say their ‘Mann ki Baat’ as well as ‘Kaam ki Baat’. Today, ‘Mann ki Baat’ is equally important as Kaam ki Baat.”
"For the first time in independent India, such an atmosphere has been created in the country. Authors, intellectuals will come and have a platform to speak frankly. I hope that through this festival, people in government get to know what does India want. Maybe, there will be a new beginning. I hope that authors and intellectuals from across the world come here and discuss the condition of the country. Maybe this will give a message which will be beneficial for the country," Gehlot added.