Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has stirred controversy ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections by alleging Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) connections to the murder of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur last year. Speaking to reporters in Jodhpur on Sunday, Gehlot claimed, “The men who killed Kanhaiya Lal were linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
Lal was killed on June 28, 2022, allegedly for sharing a social media post supporting suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who had made controversial remarks about Prophet Muhammad during a television debate.
Gehlot expressed dissatisfaction with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) handling the case and suggested that if the state police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) had been in charge, “the matter would have reached a logical conclusion by now.”
“No one knows what action the NIA has taken,” Gehlot said. He criticized the BJP’s response to the incident, stating, “Several top leaders of the BJP chose to attend an event in Hyderabad even after learning of the Udaipur incident.”
The Chief Minister’s remarks come amidst heightened political tensions ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled for November 25.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had previously mentioned the Udaipur murder, accusing the Congress of prioritizing its vote bank over addressing the crime.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, on November 7, also criticized the Gehlot government for what he described as the “politics of appeasement.”
The murder case initially handled by the Rajasthan Police took a turn when the NIA took over and registered a separate case on June 29, 2022. Two suspects, Riyaz Akhtari and Ghouse Mohammad, were arrested hours after posting a video of the killing online.