Gehlot, Baghel meet Rahul over post-poll plans
With results to assembly elections in five states scheduled just weeks away, senior Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel met party MP Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to discuss the party’s electoral performance, post-poll strategies and management on Sunday.
Gehlot, who is the chief minister of Rajasthan, and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Baghel met Rahul Gandhi at his residence in the national capital
During the meeting, discussions on a long-pending clearance to Rajasthan for mining coal from Parsa East and Kanta Besan (PEKB) in Chhattisgarh were also taken up, functionaries familiar with developments said, asking not to be named.
In December last year, the Central government had granted environmental clearance to Rajasthan for mining coal from PEKB but the necessary clearances from the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh government are still awaited, despite repeated reminders and correspondence.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Gehlot said, “Assessment of elections ongoing in five states was done; what will be our situation and what next should be done. And even after the elections…this is also an agenda.” He added that the party’s internal elections and membership campaign also came up for discussion.
Later, Gehlot met AICC treasurer Pawan Bansal before setting off for Jaipur.
Sources familiar with the development said the party is confident of good performance in 2-3 states.
Discussions were also held on soon-to-be-vacant Rajya Sabha seats in both states.
A senior functionary familiar with the discussions at the meeting said, “Baghel discussed organisational elections and other political issues of the state. It was decided that the process of election in Congress state’s unit would start from April 1 this year. The election of Chhattisgarh block committees of the Congress party would be held in May. At the same time, by September 20, Congress will also choose its new state president.”
Regarding the coal mines issue, a senior official said the centre issued environment clearance to phase-II of Parsa East and Kanta Besan (PEKB) coal mine, which is allocated to Rajasthan. Mining would commence once the Chhattisgarh government issues a permit, but in view of the protest by people from the tribal community and concerns raised by the Wildlife Institute of India, the government is resisting, especially with just a year-and-half left for assembly elections.
The coal under phase-I of PEKB is almost exhausted and Rajasthan is facing a coal crisis. Earlier, Gehlot had written twice to party chief Sonia Gandhi to intervene and resolve the issue.