Cong Rajasthan MLAs call on Pilot amid tensions
At least six legislators considered close to former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met him on Thursday, and later urged the Congress high command to immediately fill vacant positions in the state cabinet and make key political appointments.
The meeting took place at Pilot’s Jaipur residence a few days after he said that the party high command was yet to resolve the issues that led to his rebellion in July 2020 against chief minister Ashok Gehlot, and that a committee constituted to address the concerns he raised last year had failed to deliver.
The Rajasthan Congress in-charge Ajay Maken said in response to Pilot’s comments that vacant positions in the cabinet will be filled soon, and all other pending issues will also be taken up.
The legislators who met Pilot -- Ved Pakash Solanki, Mukesh Bhakar, Vishwendra Singh, Rakesh Pareek, Suresh Modi and Ramniwas Gawriya -- were part of 18 MLAs who were part of the camp that rebelled against Gehlot and camped in a hotel in Gurugram. Leaders close to Pilot said that other MLAs were in touch with him though they were not able to come from their constituencies because of the Covid lockdown.
The meeting gains significance as it comes a day after AICC general secretary Bhanwar Jitendra Singh also came out in support of Pilot.
After meeting Pilot for over two hours, one of the legislators, Ved Prakash Solanki from the Chaksu assembly constituency, pointed to a Congress panel looking at problems that have arisen with the party’s Punjab unit, and asked if issues raised by Punjab Congress leaders can be taken up in 10 days, why should the concerns of the Rajasthan unit not be addressed for 10 months.
“There has been no discussion or hearings on the demands raised by us…it’s not about the discussions with us but the way issues of Punjab Congress were heard and a report is submitted in 10 days has disappointed workers here. When in Punjab things can happen in 10 days, why it cannot be done here in 10 months?” he asked.
“I am saying repeatedly that governance should be decentralised, and political appointments be done as soon as possible -- be it at the block, district or state level. I also want to say that cabinet expansion should be done... if the CM does not want to consider people belonging to this side (Pilot camp)… don’t do it. At least consider his own people and Congress workers. This is not the time for yours’ or mine but of Congress workers, who worked hard to bring party government in state – they should be given importance,” he said.
Another MLA, Mukesh Bhakar, also seconded Solanki stand on cabinet expansion and political appointments, and said: “Those who worked hard for five years should get their dues.”
He added, “Our struggle is ongoing. My leader is Pilot and I am with him always in any political situation.”
Meanwhile, Another round of infighting in the Rajasthan Congress has given an opportunity to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take a dig at the state government.
Political analyst Manish Godha said the turmoil seems to create political pressure on chief minister Ashok Gehlot for a speedy cabinet expansion. “The MLAs here have taken political developments happening in Punjab as basis to stir their rebellion against Gehlot. To be fair, the party high command had been sitting on the issues raised by Pilot camp for past 10 months and did nothing much,” he said.