The internal strife in the Rajasthan Congress seems to be resurfacing again. Chief minister Ashok Gahlot’s defiance amidst a fresh salvo by his former deputy Sachin Pilot will test the crisis-managing abilities of the newly-anointed Congress president.
On Wednesday, Pilot alleged that his former boss could be following the footprints of former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who quit the party after kowtowing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
For the uninitiated, Gehlot and PM Modi recently heaped praises on each other during an official event in Rajasthan’s Banswara on Tuesday, which Pilot sees as a red flag for the party.
“I find the praises by PM Modi (on CM Gehlot) as a very interesting event. The prime minister had similarly praised Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament and we saw what happened thereafter,” Pilot told media persons.
In a message to the Congress high command, Pilot, who is credited with steering the Congress in victory in the last Assembly elections, as Rajasthan Congress president said the development should not be taken “lightly”.
The Congress leader also reminded people about as many as 90 Gehlot loyalist MLAs boycotting a meeting called by central party leaders and submitting their resignations in the run-up to the organizational elections for the post of Congress president in the last week of September.
“On September 25, a CLP (Congress legislative party) meeting was called but it could not take place,” he said, referring to the incident of Gehlot loyalist MLAs boycotting the meeting which was called by then Congress observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge to decide who will head the government if Gehlot is elected as the Congress president.
Before Kharge, Gehlot was a strong contender for the presidential post but pulled out of the race after a series of political development irked the powerful Gandhis.
“For that, the chief minister apologized to the party and Sonia Gandhi. The observers sent by the party, Maken Ji and Kharge Ji, had taken the incident very seriously. After that, AICC took it up as a matter of gross indiscipline,” he said.
The Congress leader said that the high command had issued notices to three leaders, who, he said, have now sent their responses.
“I believe that Kharge sahib will soon take a decision. Because it cannot happen that no action is taken in a matter of indiscipline,” he demanded.
On Tuesday, while sharing the stage with Gahlot during the inauguration of Mangarh Dham, the PM said, “Ashok Ji and I have worked together as chief ministers. He was the senior-most in our lot. He is still one of the senior-most chief ministers among those who are sitting on the stage right now.”
Lauding the Prime Minister, Gehlot said: “When PM Modi goes abroad, he receives great honour because he is PM of the nation of Gandhi, where democracy is deep-rooted. When the world realizes this, they feel proud that the PM of that country is visiting them.”