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Explained: Congress crisis in Rajasthan

Rajasthan Congress; On Sunday, the infighting within the ruling Congress party was on full display in Rajasthan. More than 90 MLAs

By Ground report
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Explained: Congress crisis in Rajasthan

On Sunday, the infighting within the ruling Congress party was on full display in Rajasthan. More than 90 MLAs in the state have threatened to resign amid reports that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is running for Speaker of Congress.

The MLAs, Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, are divided into two factions. The MLAs who support Ashok Gehlot want their views on who should be the next Chief Minister of the state to be heard.

Rajasthan Congress

Several MLAs, more than 90 of them, who owe allegiance to Crime Minister Ashok Gehlot headed to President CP Joshi's house after a long evening meeting at Minister Shanti Dhariwal's residence, saying they would resign as MLAs.

Meanwhile, at the Crime minister's house, Gehlot and congressional observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken waited for all lawmakers to arrive for the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.

Later, in statements to the media, the MLAs said: “We have tendered our resignation and now we are going home. The MLAs want any decision on the Crime minister to be made only after the election of the party's national chairman," Minister Govind Ram Meghwal said.

Loyalists said MLAs' views should be taken into account. “Later, whatever decision is made by the higher command will be accepted,” said independent MLA Babulal Nagar.

Ashok Gehlot's political power

According to The Indian Express report, Ashok Gehlot's political power play was in full swing and the Gandhi family failed to understand Ashok Gehlot's very measured political moves.

Ashok Gehlot gestured that he does not want to remain in the top position of the party and remain the leader of the state.

Gehlot has clearly said many times that he wants to know the opinion of his MLAs before the election of the new Chief Minister of the state.

Ashok Gehlot wanted that his close friend should be made the new Chief Minister of the state. He was against making Sachin Pilot the Chief Minister of the state and perhaps that is why he had indicated that he wanted to remain the Chief Minister of the state till he was elected the President of the Congress. But the Congress leadership could not understand his gesture.

Appointment of new CM

As per the report, Gehlot's camp said that the decision to call a PLC meeting to appoint the new CM was shocking as the Chief Minister had not even submitted his nomination papers for the post of President of Congress.

Some congressional leaders believe that Rahul Gandhi is saying in public gestures that Gehlot cannot continue in both positions. It was a shame for a leader of his stature who could be the president of the party in the next few days.

Sources in Ashok Gehlot's camp claim that Sachin Pilot was making phone calls to MLAs saying that he would be elected party leader of the legislature and this is all happening even before Ashok Gehlot submitted his nomination.

Demands of Gehlot loyalists

AICC observer Ajay Maken said that Rajasthan Congress MLAs Pratap Khachariyawas, S Dhariwal and CP Joshi met with him and put three demands on him:

The first was to hand over the responsibility of appointing the CM to the person elected as president of Congress after October 19. "We said it would be a conflict of interest," Maken stated, adding, "If CM Ashok Gehlot becomes head of Congress after Oct. 19, he can seize his own resolution."

The MLAs wanted to meet with the AICC observers in groups, rather than individually as requested by the latter. “We made it clear that this is not how it works, but they did not accept it,” he said.

The third condition was that the CM should be from among the 102 MLA who are loyal to CM Ashok Gehlot, rather than Sachin Pilot. "We said that his exact sentiments will be conveyed to the head of Congress, who will make a decision after talking with CM Gehlot and others," Maken said.

“They (the Congressional MLAs) insisted that the resolution be in line with three conditions, to which we said that never in the history of Congress has a resolution been approved with conditions and that it be conditional. There should be no conflict of interest," Maken added.

What is the role of the party leadership?

Although the Gandhi family, especially Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, support Sachin Pilot for the post of Chief Minister, they cannot base their decision on the votes of the MLAs. Due to the political developments in Rajasthan, interim president Sonia Gandhi is the talk of the town.

She has ordered Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge to speak to each MLA separately. While Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Padayatra is underway, Koli has been handed over to the BJP for the power struggle in Rajasthan. Therefore, the party leadership has instructed the inspectors to put an end to this breakup as soon as possible.

Will Congress lose power?

For the last three decades, the Congress and the BJP have alternated in power in Rajasthan. For 24 years the main ministry revolved around Gehlot and Vasundhararaje Shinde. It has become a tradition in Rajasthan for the ruling party to lose the next election.

This time, however, when Congress decided to break with this tradition, a new power game ensued. Elections will be held next year. So it looks like BJP will wait a year instead of making some moves now. Congress may suffer more from factionalism than from anti-government public opinion. Much will depend on whether Gehlot-Pilot continues to fight or work as one.


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