Rajasthan witnessed a high-level political drama on Sunday with some Congress MLAs from Ashok Gehlot camp resigning from their Assembly membership amid buzz that he is being replaced as the chief minister. Meanwhile, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi asked observers– Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken– to conduct one-on-one talks with party MLAs to resolve the crisis.
A meeting of the Congress Legislature Party was scheduled to be held at Gehlot’s residence in Jaipur at 7 pm on September 25. However, ahead of the CLP meet, several Congress MLAs went to the residence of Assembly speaker CP Joshi in Jaipur on Sunday night. Some of them have submitted their resignations.
Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken are also present in Jaipur.
Cracks appeared in Rajasthan Congress after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot became the first person to announce his candidature for the AICC presidential poll. As Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wants the commitment of “one-man, one-post”, which was adopted as part of the Udaipur Declaration, to be honoured, several ministers in the Rajasthan government and party MLAs have thrown their weight behind Gehlot while some have endorsed Sachin Pilot.
After announcing his bid for the Congress president poll, CM Gehlot had said that the call on his successor will be taken by Sonia Gandhi and general secretary in-charge Rajasthan Ajay Maken.
Rajasthan Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said the talks of changing the CM will happen after CM Ashok Gehlot becomes party president. Out of 102 MLAs, anybody can become the CM. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot will decide it, the minister said.
Gehlot said he never thought about resigning as the chief minister of Rajasthan. “It was spread by the media from the very beginning that Ashok Gehlot does not want to leave the post of Chief Minister of Rajasthan, while this thing has never been in my mind, I have already told the high command on August 9 that it is very important to win the next Rajasthan elections,” he tweeted.
It has been blown away by the media from the very beginning that Ashok Gehlot does not want to leave the post of Chief Minister of Rajasthan, while this thing has never been in my mind, I have already told the high command on August 9 that it is very important to win the next Rajasthan elections. is to Congress. pic.twitter.com/e7MFyBJrLf
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) September 25, 2022
Advisor to the chief minister and independent MLA Sanyam Lodha said that everyone wants Gehlot to continue as chief minister and warned if he is replaced then the government might collapse.
It may be noted that Pilot along with 18 party MLAs rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership in July 2020. Later, he was sacked as the deputy chief minister as well as the state PCC chief. Pilot on Friday met Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi amid speculations of change of guard in the state.
Minister of State for Rural Development Rajendra Singh Gudha has called for Pilot to be made the chief minister and called him the “best face”. “There is no other best face than Sachin Pilot in Congress. Whatever the high command will decide, it will be final but when it comes to my opinion, there is no better leader in Rajasthan than Pilot after Gehlot.”
Besides Pilot, names of Speaker CP Joshi and Govind Singh Dotasra are also doing the rounds for the race in the Congress on who will be the next chief minister of Rajasthan.
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