The ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan has threatened to derail the Congress’s dream of revival, and may have broader implications at the national level, as Ashok Gehlot supporters were adamant in their choice of candidate for Rajasthan Chief Minister.
Rajasthan CM Gehlot is an overwhelming favourite to win the Congress presidential poll. However, that would mean he would have to forego one chair he values most – the post of Rajasthan CM.
While Sachin Pilot is speculated to take over as the next Rajasthan CM, Gehlot’s supporters are adamant that they will not tolerate anyone but one of his supporters. The Gehlot supporters also made it clear that if the party’s high command chooses anyone else, then it will be a disaster for the party in Rajasthan.
CM Gehlot went to meet Ajay Maken on Monday at his hotel in Jaipur. But according to sources, Maken refused to meet him and left for the airport to catch a flight back to New Delhi.
Sources in the party believe that Congress MLAs are worried that if the CM post is given to Sachin Pilot or his supporters, their position in the state will be in trouble.
Despite their open defiance, Congress MLAs have said that they have faith in the party’s high command.
“This is not correct to say that we didn’t want to meet Ajay Maken. We respectfully went to meet them and put forward the demands of the MLAs who don’t want a CM amongst people who rebelled against the Congress party,” Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) minister Mahesh Joshi said.
“Moreover, we never asked Maken to include any demand in the resolution that was sent to the high command. We just want our demands to be listened to by the high command of the Congress party. We have full faith in them,” said Joshi.
Cabinet minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said, “We can die for the Congress party. But this is democracy and if so many MLAs have unanimously said something, it should be taken into consideration before taking any decision by the party’s high command. We are ready to face any trouble caused by the BJP, but our demands should be listened to.”
However, MLAs, who owe their allegiance to Sachin Pilot, have questioned the stand of Gehlot’s supporters.
Even after Pilot’s move, five of his supporters were given ministerial posts. Then why were there so many objections to them becoming chief minister? asked MLA from Udaipurwati, Rajendra Gudha.
“This is a staged drama and they don’t have the support of so many MLAs as stated. I think the high command should accept their resignations,” said Gudha.
There are, however, many MLAs who are not taking any side. Divya Maderna said, “I have never been nor will I ever be siding with one leader. I worship the Congress party and whatever the decision of the Congress president is, I will accept it.”
On Sunday, a video of MLAs meeting that was held at Urban Development and Housing minister Shanti Dhariwal’s house went viral on social media in which Dhariwal said that if Ashok Gehlot is not the CM face then the Congress, the government cannot be saved in Rajasthan.
“If we don’t become cautious, we might lose Rajasthan just like we lost Punjab. If Ashok Gehlot holds just one post of Chief minister in the state then why does the party high command want him to resign? Let him become the AICC president first, then he can resign. No one except Gehlot can become the CM of Rajasthan,” stated Dhariwal.