Maderna sacking: Jat agitates, 18 Sarpanch Resigns

Angered by sacking of water resources minister Mahipal Maderna from the Ashok Gehlot-led government over ANM Bhanwari Devi episode, the Jat community is up in arms against the Congress government in the state. Maderna's sacking has evoked reaction in his native district of Jodhpur, with some elected representatives of the panchayati raj Institutions sending their resignations to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi. A day after the removal of Rajasthan water resources minister Mahipal Maderna from Ashok Gehlot’s cabinet, 18 Jat sarpanches resigned from Osian, Maderna’s constituency in Jodhpur district. Members of 11 panchayat samitis and four zila parishads, also belonging to Jodhpur district, submitted their resignations in support of Maderna who belongs to the Jat community. Maderna was removed from the cabinet in connection with the alleged kidnapping and suspected murder of Dalit nurse Bhanwari Devi. Dalit leaders, on the other hand, have welcomed the removal of Maderna. Chaturaram Deshbandhu, leader of the Sansi community, said: “The Dalits of Rajasthan are highly obliged to him (Gehlot). It should have been better if Maderna had resigned himself.”
State Congress chief Dr Chandrabhan also supported Maderna’s removal. “I believe ...the CM did not have another option. Gehlot has the right to include or remove any minister from the cabinet,” he said. Bhanwari Devi allegedly had in her possession a sex CD of herself and Maderna and she was using it to blackmail the minister. She went missing on September 1 from the Bilara area of Jodhpur, and her husband Amar Chand named Maderna as an accused in the FIR. The Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan high court on Monday once again reprimanded the state while hearing the petition of Amar Chand. On Monday, the CBI team investigating the case questioned Amar Chand for more than three hours. The team also questioned a Congress leader at Kishangargh in Ajmer district, where Maderna used to stay during his visits.