Jaipur (Rajasthan): With the deepening political crisis in Rajasthan over the appointment of Ashok Gehlot’s successor, Congress Working Committee members have demanded from Sonia Gandhi to pull the state chief minister out of the race for the party chief and select another candidate for the top post, sources said on Monday.
Miffed over the recent political developments in the crisis-hit state and the conduct of the MLAs of the Gehlot camp, the CWC members have registered a complaint against him with the party chief and said, “It would not be good to lay faith in him and give him the responsibility of the party. The party top leadership should reconsider his candidature”. The members have urged Sonia Gandhi to make another such person a candidate who is a senior leader and also loyal to the Gandhi family.
Sonia Gandhi, at the behest of Ashok Gehlot, has taken cognizance of the MLAs of his camp not meeting the two observers- Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken – sent to Jaipur by the party leadership.
Notably, the MLAs of the Gehlot camp had not attended the meeting of the Congress legislative party (CLP).
Given the circumstances, other party leaders like Digvijaya Singh and Mukul Wasnik are a few names emerging on the list of probable candidates.
Shashi Tharoor who is also in the race for the party’s top post will file the nominations on September 30.
A legislative party meeting was scheduled on Sunday evening at the residence of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the presence of the observers, which was attended by the Sachin Pilot and his camp MLAs, however, the Gehlot loyalists had held a meeting with Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal at his residence, following which over 90 MLAs had submitted their resignations to Speaker CP Joshi.
Pilot, is being seen as the successor of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is all set to contest the Congress president election scheduled on October 17. The Rajasthan deputy chief minister late last night conducted a second round of meeting with the AICC observers.
According to the sources close to Gehlot, “What the MLAs did was not right. The legislators should have come to the legislature party meeting in front of the observers sent by Sonia Gandhi. Gehlot also wanted that all the MLAs should come in front of the observers in the legislature party.”
The sources further said that the party leadership wanted the MLAs to express their opinion in the meeting and the final decision to be left for Sonia Gandhi to make.
“This has been the tradition of Congress which has been followed in Rajasthan Congress, but despite all the efforts of Gehlot, the MLAs felt that the decision was going to be in favour of Sachin Pilot, their anger erupted because they did not want to give the reins of the government at any cost to the person who betrayed the BJP and tried to bring down the Congress government at the same time,” said the sources.
The Gehlot loyalists want someone from their own camp to be chosen as the next Chief Minister, instead of Pilot, who according to them, had revolted against his own party back in 2020.
The two Congress party observers for Rajasthan- Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken- will arrive in Delhi on Monday to submit their report to the top leadership on the political crisis, which has engulfed the state following mass resignations by party MLAs.
With miffed party MLAs unwilling to meet with the observers, sources said that the next step will be decided by observers of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) after a discussion with the party’s high command.