By Archana Sharma
Jaipur, Jan 23 (IANS) The differences among the ruling Congress government in Rajasthan came out in the open on Thursday as Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh boycotted the inaugural ceremony of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) even as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the festival in the morning.
Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot also attended the JLF and addressed a session.
However, the absence of Vishwendra Singh became a hot topic of discussion.
After boycotting the event, Singh tweeted from his official Twitter handle: “There is no anger. Just that I don’t think the festival is aligned with our marketing strategy for Jaipur or Rajasthan for that matter. The synergy was not enough for me to spare the marketing revenue they wanted.”
The minister had replied to a tweet from a news channel which had flashed the news saying: “Tourism minister upset with JLF. He did not attend the inaugural ceremony and also directed the tourism department to avoid giving any kind of sponsorship to the festival. He has directed that if the orders are passed, they should be revoked, Hence, JLF shall not get Rs 30 lakh. A special letter was sent to department directing not to give any kind of financial aid.”
Later, the tourism department officials confirmed that the release of Rs 30 lakh meant for the JLF was stopped.
Meanwhile, the minister’s tweet has been retweeted many times.
A Twitter user replied: “Rightly so; kudos, it requires courage to take such a decision! Jaipur Lit Fest just a place for socialites and page 3 types to mark their attendance for photo ops; does not project either Jaipur or Rajasthan as a tourist destination or reflect her glorious culture and traditions.”
Another user said: “I second that. These days JLF has become a hub of taking pictures and posting on social media. The genuine listeners stay away from the venue as it’s very crowded and hardly has space to sit and listen to Authors and become part of discussion. Which is missing. A Change of venue YES.”
Meanwhile, another Twitter user also posted his picture with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, writing: “Kahin pe nigahen, kahin pe nishana.”
Singh has been garnering eyeballs since the last few months due to his growing closeness to Pilot.
Also, he was seen flying kites with BJP MP Diya Kumari in Jaipur and attended an event with Kumari in Sawai Madhopur which, according to political pundits, can change political equations in coming times.
Singh is also not getting along well with the bureaucracy and has complained many times that the officials are not listening to him but the government is not paying heed to his complaints.
Pilot, a few days ago, supported Singh saying that if the minister is saying something, the government should try to break the deadlock.
(Archana Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])