Nihalchand, the MP from Ganganagar constituency in Rajasthan, and 16 others were named in an FIR lodged by a 24-year-old married woman from Jaipur. In the FIR filed in 2011, she alleged that the accused had sexually exploited her.

A Rajasthan court has asked Nihalchand and others to appear before it on August 20 in connection with the case.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mahila Congress workers staged a protest outside BJP headquarters in New Delhi and demanded immediate removal of 43-year-old Minister.

The Congress said that it is a ‘shame’ that a person charged with rape continues to be in government.

"It is a shame for the government that a person, who is accused of a heinous crime like rape and has been summoned by the court, still continues in the government. Now the government says they will follow the legal course. This is too much.... The minister should not be allowed to continue even for a moment,” Congress spokesperson PC Chacko said.

Nihalchand is the only MP from Rajasthan in Modi's Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended Nihalchand saying that he is being ‘falsely implicated’.

“There is nothing substantial against him and that he was being falsely implicated. The charges against are politically motivated. The police is reinvestigating the matter and he is cooperating. As long as there is nothing substantial against him, we cannot take action against him," BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said.

On Tuesday, Nihalchand on his part refused to comment on the controversy involving him. He was reported as saying, “No comments.”

Nihalchand’s supporters also misbehaved with the crew members of a leading news channel and stopped its reporter from posing a question.

JPN

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