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Rajasthan: Day after heated argument, Cong leader accompanies party candidate for nomination filing

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Kota (Rajasthan) Mar 30 (PTI) Congress candidate from Kota-Bundi Lok Sabha seat Prahlad Gunjal was accompanied by senior party leader Shanti Dhariwal as the former filed his nomination papers on Saturday a day after the two leaders traded barbs at a party meeting.

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In a show of unity within the party, Gunjal and Dhariwal went to the office of the district election officer at 2.15 pm with the party's state in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Govind Singh Dotasra.

Later, the Congress leaders led a march from Maharao Ummed Singh Stadium to Collectorate Circle, where they addressed a gathering of party workers.

Gunjal, who joined the Congress from the BJP recently, got into a heated argument with Dhariwal during a party meeting here on Friday over Gunjal’s allegations of corruption against the latter during the assembly polls campaign.

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The two leaders had faced each other in the assembly polls from the Kota North constituency a few months ago in December, with Dhariwal winning by a small margin.

Gunjal has been pitted against Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla in Kota-Bundi seat, which will go to polls in the second phase of general elections on April 26.

During his address to party workers on Saturday, Gunjal said that his public life had been “spotless”.

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He said the contest was between him and Birla, not Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and added that it was also not a fight between the parties.

People would tear Birla’s clothes as he has done nothing for his constituency despite being in a top post, the former BJP leader said.

The BJP in Kota region has been reduced to a party of one family (Birla's) and party workers have to bow down to him to rise in the party, Gunjal said.

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Gunjal said he is not like other BJP MLAs who bow before the Lok Sabha speaker.

“Prahlad Gunjal will do ‘parikarma’ (circumambulate) of Lord Ram's temple, not of Birlaji. I came out of the BJP as I preferred quitting the party over accepting slavery,” Gunjal said.

The Congress leader challenged Birla to contest the election without the support of the BJP or the prime minister.

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PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra, state in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Dhariwal and other leaders also addressed the rally, and appealed to voters to ensure a Congress victory.

Dotasra, responding to a question on the argument between Gunjal and Dhariwal, said: “Let bygones be bygones. It is time to write a new history of development.” Dotasra said both Gunjal and Dhariwal had contested elections against each other, and all leaders act as per their party’s expectations.

“But yesterday, elder and younger brother joined hands and we all are united today and we will fight the election unitedly,” the PCC chief said.

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The party was united behind Gunjal, he added.

Attacking the BJP, Dotasra said Dotasra Modi has demanded an account of “70 years of Congress rule” but neither he nor Birla has given an account of their 10-year rule.

Randhawa, speaking to media at Kota collectorate, refuted reports that Congress leaders were leaving and joining the BJP.

He added that it was the BJP that is not finding suitable candidates and managing by defecting leaders from other parties.

“If they (BJP) claim that they will cross 400 seats, why are they taking support of crutches (candidates from other parties)? Why are they getting workers from other parties to join their party?” Randhawa asked. PTI COR SKY SKY

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