Mon, 26 Sep 2022 09:38 AM IST
AS RAJASTHAN chief minister Ashok Gehlot is likely to resign from the top post to file a nomination to contest Congress president polls, the state has been plunged into a deep crisis with MLAs loyal to Gehlot threatening to resign over a possible move to make Tonk MLA Sachin Pilot the next chief minister of the state. Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi had asked observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge to hold one-on-one talks with the MLAs, however, most of them are not ready to hold any talks with the observers. Maken and Kharge, who were in Rajasthan on Sunday, will reach Delhi today and submit their report to the top leadership. The next decision will be taken after a meeting with the party's high command.
Top Updates From The Big Story:
- Most of the Rajasthan MLAs, who are loyal to CM Ashok Gehlot, have denied meeting with the state observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge. Sonia Gandhi had asked them to hold one-on-one talks with the miffed MLAs. Maken and Kharge will today submit their report to the party high command after which the decision to decide on the next CM of the state will be taken.
- The miffed MLAs have threatened to quit if Pilot is made the next Chief Minister of the state. MLAs loyal to Gehlot on Sunday also skipped the Congress Legislative Party meeting at the CM's residence. The loyalists headed to Speaker CP Joshi's home, who is among the frontrunners for the CM post. Loyalist MLAs claimed that over 80 MLAs went to Joshi’s home and said that they will submit their resignation to the Speaker. Congress has 108 MLAs in the House of 200.
- Late at night, there were efforts by Kharge and Maken to persuade Gehlot loyalists to meet them one on one, if not as part of a larger MLAs’ meeting. However, the MLAs denied meeting them. "Every MLA has faith in interim president Sonia Gandhi. We have kept our point and expect that our demands will be considered when the final decision is taken by the high command. We want the party to take care of people who've been loyal to Congress," state minister Mahendra Joshi said.
- Earlier, state legislator Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said that all the MLAs are angry and are resigning as they were not consulted before the decision. "All the MLAs are angry and are resigning. We are going to the speaker for that. MLAs are upset how can CM Ashok Gehlot take a decision without consulting them", said Khachariyawas.
- He further alleged that the party doesn't listen to them and decisions are being taken without any discussion. "10 to15 MLAs are being heard while other MLAs are being neglected. Party doesn't listen to us, decisions are being taken without it," said Khachariyawas.
- The CLP meeting was seen as a crucial step ahead of Gehlot filing his nomination for the Congress president’s post, amid speculation that the former deputy chief minister Pilot will take charge in the state.
- Gehlot, seen by many as a reluctant candidate for the top party position, initially appeared unwilling to give up his CM’s post. Later, it was speculated that he would rather see C P Joshi --- or anyone else --- as CM rather than Pilot, who had rebelled against his leadership in 2020.
- Some Gehlot loyalists said the next CM should be someone who was instrumental in saving the government during the 2020 crisis and not anyone involved in the bid to topple it, a veiled reference to Pilot.
- Gehlot and Pilot were at loggerheads for the chief minister's post soon after the Congress won the Assembly elections in December 2018. The high command then chose Gehlot as the chief minister for the third time while Pilot was made his deputy. In July 2020, Pilot along with 18 party MLAs rebelled against Gehlot's leadership.
- Filing of nominations for the post of Congress president began on Saturday with a contest between Ashok Gehlot and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor on the cards. The nominations will be filed till September 30 and results declaring the new Congress chief will be announced on October 19.
- This will be the first time in 25 years that Congress will see a non-Gandhi chief after Sonia Gandhi replaced Sitaraman Kesri as party chief in 1998. The last time the party had a non-Gandhi chief was in 1997 when Sitaram Kesri defeated Sharad Pawar and Rajesh Pilot.