Why RSS-BJP is in deep trouble over Jaipur mayor’s scandal

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On June 30, the Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) convicted Nimba Ram, regional head of the RSS, in an alleged corruption case. On June 6, the government suspended BJP mayor of Jaipur Greater, Somya Gurjar, after the company commissioner was allegedly manhandled by three councilors in his room on June 4.

The BJP appointed Gurjar mayor in November 2020 – quashing opposition from many prominent local leaders – after the party won Jaipur Greater. Prior to that, the Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC), with an annual budget of Rs 1,800 crore, had been split into two, Jaipur Greater and Jaipur Heritage. The ruling state Congress won the other new company, Jaipur Heritage.

On June 30, ACB arrested Rajaram Gurjar, Somya’s husband, and Omkar Sapre, head of administration of BVG India Ltd, the company responsible for waste management in the capital of Rajasthan, on the basis of of video and audio clips that went viral on social media on June 10. The recordings, allegedly made by Sapre and another BVG representative, Sandeep Chaudhary, contained discussions of a bribe of Rs 20 crore (further increased to 10%) for the release of Rs 270 crore ( excluding penalties) the LPP contributions which have been withheld by the company. Nimba Ram, who as regional leader enjoys a powerful position in the RSS and, indirectly, in the BJP state, is also in a clip shot at Sewa Bharti’s office in Jaipur on April 20. In a late statement on July 1, the RSS dismissed any allegations of corruption against Nimba Ram, claiming that a courtesy visit to him by BVG officials who wanted to contribute CSR funds to Pratap Gaurav Kendra of Sangh, a space exhibition in Udaipur, had been misrepresented as a corrupt and illegal transaction.

BVG India Ltd, an integrated service provider company with many offices and clients in New Delhi and the States, signed a contract with JMC in 2017 for door-to-door garbage collection. Although he claims that the ranking of the capital of Rajasthan for cleanliness and other related parameters has increased significantly as a result of his efforts, JMC officials claim to have sent 480 notices to the company for deficient services, and cite him as the reason why bills worth Rs 305 crore, nearly 40 percent of the total, was withheld.

The RSS is at an impasse because it is a rare case where one of its senior officials has been convicted of corruption. The BJP and RSS are working to clear him, but Congress is sparing no effort to target him, saying it is a classic case with “clear evidence of what the RSS is doing on behalf of the patriotism”.

Unlike Nimba Ram’s case, Somya’s suspension has divided the BJP with great reluctance to support it. If the BJP-RSS fails to be clear, it will seriously damage their claims and their anti-corruption image. The current waiver in BJP state has strong support from the RSS and the high command of the party led by the Modi-Shah duo, so the black mark goes far.

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