He is working relentlessly round-the-clock to give one last push to the menace.
New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has tremendous prowess to tackle any humanitarian crisis. There is ample evidence of this. True to his already established image of being a fighter of extraordinary calibre, Ashok Gehlot’s apt handling of the corona crisis won him laurels and recognition as an administrator of supreme quality at the national as well as international level. The belief about him being a serious and effective leader has come to be cemented all the more. Management of the corona crisis by Gehlot has proved him a peerless fighter in terms of handling any calamity. What Gehlot did to bring succour to his people reminds one and all of his efficacious management of crisis resulting from massive drought followed by famine in Rajasthan in 1990s. What was remarkable then was that as a CM, Gehlot didn’t let even a single starvation death happen in the state due to the menace. This, despite the Central government being that of the opposition party (1998-2003). Apart from handling the crisis on the ground level, Gehlot tackled it politically too. In what bears testimony to his political acumen, Gehlot deftly turned the tables on the BJP when the saffron party tried to corner him over what it called failure to deliver in crisis-ridden Rajasthan. Gehlot’s handling of drought induced crisis happens to dominate discussions till today. When the first corona case was detected in Rajasthan, there were questions galore. They set the tongues wagging all around. National as well as international press, including the BBC, turned focus on Bhilwara terming the situation as one going from bad to worse. That Bhilwara turned into a corona hotspot started hogging headlines. This spread like a wildfire with corona pandemic in Kota, Jhunjhunu of Rajasthan being projected as hotspots assuming alarming proportion. The moment Gehlot swung into action, which happened in no time, things started coming under control. We can recall how swiftly Gehlot announced a lockdown in what was followed by many later. He became the first CM to put in place such a stringent step just for the sake of welfare of his people. He didn’t show a hitch to clamp a curfew wherever it was needed. These measures showed results too within a span of a week’s time. Bhilwara improved to the extent of being corona free. It was showcased as a model of effective fight against corona. Gehlot’s administration fetched the Centre’s praise too. Other states got inclined to moving on the path shown by Gehlot. The international community wasn’t also behind in showering praise on Gehlot’s initiatives to rid Bhilwara of corona. If we delve into the politics of Gehlot, we find it different from others. He doesn’t believe in politics of confrontation and one-upmanship. Like in corona times, the BJP was at the Centre when the famine had gripped Rajasthan once. Notwithstanding his relief demands being unmet, Gehlot had shunned the path of confrontation with the Centre.
In his own style of politics, however, Gehlot had managed to pressure the Centre into yielding to his demands. This time, too, Gehlot didn’t get into direct confrontation with the Central government, despite the latter not meeting his demands. He treaded on his own political path regardless of what people asked him to do. Gehlot displayed a bold gesture while deciding on lockdown relaxation, industry resumption, helping students, etc. His administrative decisions paved the way for smooth ration distribution that came to be appreciated by both the Centre and the world community alike. He deftly coaxed the Centre into giving the states liberty to act on their own in handling corona pandemic. There’s no denying Rajasthan’s vulnerability was much higher as tourism was at its peak when corona broke out, with a huge number of foreigners ubiquitously scattered in the state. Densely populated regions added to Gehlot’s challenge. But Gehlot remained steadfast since the beginning and took the toughest possible measures, believing remedy could be bitter than the malady. But it will rid state of pandemic. Another trait of Gehlot’s leadership needs to be admired here. He took every social and religious organisation on board before taking any decision on sensitive issues. Close on heels of Markaz disclosures, certain elements did attempt to defile the communal climate of the state. But all attempts failed before Gehlot’s tough stand. He proved administration is his forte. The communal fabric of Rajasthan remained intact with Gehlot firmly going against such elements. At one point of time, Ramganj of Jaipur looked to be on the brink of being consigned to communal flames. But Gehlot didn’t let that happen. Gehlot came to rescue of stranded students and sent them to their homes. Other states also followed him thereafter. Gehlot was the first CM to open market and resume industrial activity. Opening lockdown was a hard nut to crack. Question was who will bite the bullet first. Gehlot did it first. He suggested to gradually lift the lockdown. The Centre accepted his suggestion. Sticking to his political course of no confrontation, Gehlot did not go vocal against PM Narendra Modi’s relief package. He did raise logical questions like funding of small industries. It was Gehlot who had been repeatedly and unequivocally demanding a relief package from the PM which could provide relief to people in the real sense of the term. Undeniably, Gehlot emerged once again as a real warrior against corona. He is working relentlessly round-the-clock to give one last push to the menace. The full victory of Rajasthan, which is now imminent, will be attributed to the one and only fighter Gehlot.