Rajasthan: Ministers, MLAs at Gehlot's residence as Cong tries to allay crisis
The ministers and MLAs met Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, and reportedly held talks. This development comes only a few hours after ex-deputy CM Sachin Pilot reached Delhi.
Several ministers and MLAs were seen paying a visit to Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot at his residence in Jaipur on Tuesday evening amid a deepening crisis in the western state over the appointment of Gehlot's successor should he contest the forthcoming Congress presidential elections. According to latest reports, AICC observers who were sent to Rajasthan to resolve the power tussle have submitted their report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The development comes around the same time when Gehlot’s former deputy and now rival Sachin Pilot reached Delhi. Pilot was seen leaving the airport but the purpose of his arrival to the national capital has not yet been disclosed.
The political turmoil in the state intensified with Gehlot's supporters' continued protest against the unofficial proposal to make Pilot the next CM.
Pilot had, without success, revolted against the Gehlot-led regime two years ago. The CM's loyalists have demanded that someone from their side, comprising over 100 MLAs, be chosen as the chief minister if Gehlot runs for the post of Congress boss.
A legislative party meeting that was scheduled on Sunday evening at Gehlot's residence in the presence of central observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge went south after the CM's supporters did not show up there, and instead held a parallel meeting at the residence of state minister Shanti Dhariwal. They later submitted their resignation to Speaker CP Joshi. However, Pilot and some MLAs close to him reached the CM’s residence and spent hours there.
Maken called the failure of the CLP meeting “unfortunate” and said the separate meeting move was an “act of indiscipline”. However, Gehlot - who HT reported earlier has likely lost the backing of the Gandhi family to become the Congress president - told Kharge that he had no hand in the rebellion.
Maken and Kharge returned to Delhi on Monday, and later met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the political crisis in Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, Pilot has quashed reports of him telling the Congress high command that Gehlot should not remain the chief minister if he decides to run for the party presidential polls, and that it was his responsibility to bring the MLAs together. The ex-deputy CM called the news report “false news”.
(With HT bureau and agency inputs)