On Rajasthan political crisis, 'Sonia Gandhi asked for...': Cong's Ajay Maken

Updated on Sep 26, 2022 07:48 PM IST

Ashok Gehlot supporters are against former deputy CM Sachin Pilot taking over from him, and want someone from their camp to become the Rajasthan chief minister's successor.

Congress leader Ajay Maken briefs the media after meeting with party interim president Sonia Gandhi at her residence, in New Delhi, India, on Monday, September 26, 2022. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
Congress leader Ajay Maken briefs the media after meeting with party interim president Sonia Gandhi at her residence, in New Delhi, India, on Monday, September 26, 2022. (Photo by Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
By, New Delhi

Congress central observer Ajay Maken said on Monday that he and his colleague Mallikarjun Kharge will submit a written report on the political turmoil in Rajasthan by “tonight or tomorrow”.

Speaking with reporters in New Delhi after meeting with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, Maken said she asked for a “written report” after being briefed “in detail” regarding the meetings he and Kharge had in Rajasthan.

Maken said as many as 102 supporters of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot had told him and Kharge that someone from their camp must be made chief minister of Rajasthan if Gehlot, who is in the race to become the next Congress president, gets elected.

“We told them that their opinion would be presented before party chief and that no conditions are attached to resolutions passed; party chief decides after consultations,” the Congress central observer added.

Gehlot loyalists are vehemently against former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, who revolted against the Rajasthan CM without any success in 2020, taking over from him. The situation in the state escalated Sunday night when more than 90 MLAs, who support Gehlot, refused to attend a state legislative party meeting at the residence of the chief minister itself in the presence of Maken and Kharge. Instead, they held a separate meeting with cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal - who himself has chief ministerial aspirations - at his residence, and later submitted their resignations to Speaker CP Joshi.

Also Read | Desert drama: Observers back in Delhi, Gehlot loyalist says ‘ready to spill…’

Maken called it “unfortunate” that the Rajasthan CLP meeting could not take place, and also lashed out at Gehlot loyalists' over their move of a parallel meeting, terming it “an act of indiscipline”.

The Congress central observer Earlier in the day, the Congress central observer had told reporters that a delegation of Gehlot loyalists met him and Kharge in Jaipur and laid down three demands - which the duo did not agree.

Their demands were the Congress legislative party meeting should be held after October 19 when Gehlot (presumably) will take charge as the president of the grand old party, the next CM of Rajasthan should be appointed from the 102 MLAs backing Gehlot, and that the current chief minister should be part of the decision-making process to select his successor.

Maken, however, said that there will be conflict of interest if the CLP is held after Gehlot is elevated as the Congress chief. He further told them that the MLAs cannot dictate that someone from rival Pilot's camp should not be considered for the CM's post.

“We told them that we will speak to all MLAs individually and present your views to the Congress president. That is as per the tradition of the party. We also did not agree to meet the MLAs in groups,” Maken told HT.

Meanwhile, members of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) urged Gandhi to pull out Gehlot from the race to become her successor in the forthcoming elections. They said someone who is a party veteran and also loyal to the Gandhi family should instead be chosen. However, Gehlot loyalists called the move “pressure tactics” and said they are “spreading this so that 10 or more MLAs join” Pilot's side.

The Congress high demand has asked its Madhya Pradesh chief Kamal Nath to immediately come to Delhi. He is likely to be pitched in to extinguish the blazing political turmoil, news agency ANI reported on Monday.

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