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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Poll maths makes Congress 'mull' inclusion of rebels

Sachin Saini, Hindustan Times  Jaipur, March 27, 2014
First Published: 16:32 IST(27/3/2014) | Last Updated: 16:41 IST(27/3/2014)

The Congress is assailed with growing requests from local party veterans to take back the leaders who were expelled for anti-party activities ahead of the assembly elections in view of Lok Sabha elections.

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Reason: Many of the expelled leaders wield a huge influence on the voters and their support to the ticket holders can turn the tide in their favour, party insiders contend.

In fact, the first steps have already been taken in this direction.

The state Congress incharge Gurudas Kamat allowed former minister Laxman Singh Rawat back into the party on Tuesday.

Rawat was expelled from the party after he contested against the party candidate from Bheem (Rajsamand) assembly constituency during the recently held assembly polls.
Earlier, the party had included Ram Gopal Bairwa who contested against party candidate from Peepalda (Budni).

Around 150 Congressmen were expelled from different districts which comprised ex-MLAs, rebel candidates, district office-bearers, sitting MLAs, block presidents etc following complaints of anti-party activities and stand against them.

In fact, the decision to expel them after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's decision to take stern action against the party rebels.

"After discussions with Congress top brass it was decided to take a stern action against party rebels and those involved in anti-party activities.

The decision was not to take them back," said former state party chief Chandrabhan.

According to sources, the request for re-inclusion of some of them was raised during the state executive meeting on Monday.

The meeting was chaired by state party chief Sachin Pilot.

Party incharge Gurudas Kamat also attended the meeting.

During the course of discussion, a sitting member of parliament asked Kamat to consider taking back expelled leaders "as we need them for better performance in Lok Sabha polls".

Party insiders said that another senior party leader even seconded the idea and submitted that similar requests were coming from various parliamentary constituencies, including Nagaur, Churu, Karauli, Chittorgarh, Udaipur.

He even said, "The (MP) candidates are requesting to take back expelled leaders stating that they will prove useful in polls."

A  party veteran said on condition of anonymity, "Rift among party leaders is widening and is quite visible. The request by the MP shows that the local leaders, including last assembly MLA candidates, are not supporting them and now they are turning towards those who betrayed the party. Earlier, the MPs were against MLAs and its vice-versa."

"If rebels or people involved in an anti-party work are taken back then it will be injustice to the true soldiers of the party. People were expelled looking to indiscipline and such opportunist people should be given second chance," said Rajendra Bidhuri, ex-MLA from Begu (Chittorgarh).


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