After Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the Centre had failed to provide coal to states, resulting in a power crisis, the Bharatiya Janata Party blamed the ruling Congress, PTI reported.

On Friday, the BJP’s Rajasthan unit held protests outside several offices of power distribution companies.

“I think the power crisis surfaced in Rajasthan due to the state government’s failure to manage it,” claimed BJP’s Rajasthan unit President Satish Poonia. “But the chief minister wants to blame the Centre and the BJP.”

Earlier on Friday, Gehlot had said that it was the Centre’s job to provide coal to states.

In a series of tweets, Gehlot called the power outages in the country a “national crisis”.

“Due to rising heat in 16 states of the country, the demand for electricity has increased and coal is not being supplied accordingly, due to which power supply is not possible as per requirement,” Gehlot wrote. “I appeal to everyone to unite in this crisis and support the government in improving the situation.”

He alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party was putting pressure on the employees of power distribution companies by staging protests outside offices.

“Will the directionless leadership of the state BJP ask the Central government a question as to why it is not able to provide coal as per the demand, due to which there has been a power cut in 16 states?” Gehlot wrote on Twitter.

Rajasthan is experiencing a severe power crisis, with some rural areas facing daily four-hour power cuts. Power cuts have been reported due to low coal stocks at thermal power plants.

However, Poonia posted on Twitter a letter by the Department of Information and Public Relations dated April 24, stating that there was no coal shortage in the state.

“Despite ruling the state for 55 years, why did the state not become self-sufficient under the rule of Congress?” Poonia wrote. “Why didn’t the management do it right? There are contradictory statements of DIPR, by you [Gehlot] and your own government [Congress] on shortage of coal.”

Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha Rajendra Rathore also held the state government responsible for the power outages, PTI reported.

“The chief minister in his budget speech had announced slabs for a rebate in electricity bill and promised that farmers will get electricity during day time,” Rathore said. “But if there is no electricity, how will the people be benefitted?”

He alleged that the state’s power companies had seen losses of upto Rs 90,000 crore and that it was a “matter of concern”.

Meanwhile, Govind Singh Dotasra, the Rajasthan unit president of Congress, said that the BJP-led central government had a habit of blaming the states for problems, reported PTI.

“It is the Centre’s responsibility to provide coal to the states,” Dotasra said. “Out of 173 plants in the country, 106 plants have either 10 to 15 per cent coal or have exhausted their fuel.”

Rajasthan has experienced a severe heatwave for the past few weeks. According to the India Meteorological Department, severe heatwave conditions will continue in western Rajasthan on May 1 and May 2.