Two days after a political drama was played out in Rajasthan, Congress MLAs belonging to CM Ashok Gehlot camp scrambled into damage control mode
Two days after a political drama was played out in Rajasthan, Congress MLAs belonging to CM Ashok Gehlot camp scrambled into damage control mode. Some were desperate to save their skins, while some tried to wash their hands of the entire episode.
The Congress high command had called an official legislature party meeting in Jaipur on Sunday. However, the MLAs backing Gehlot gathered at Urban Development and Housing Minister Shanti Dhariwal’s house instead. Later, they reached Speaker CP Joshi’s residence to hand over their resignations.
In an apparent U-turn, MLA Sandeep Yadav, who joined in the rebellion, said on Tuesday that at a time when elections for the top party post are round the corner, the unexpected turn of events is quite unfortunate. “We all have the right to put forward our demands, but in the end, the decision of the party high command is supreme,” said Yadav.
Khushveer Singh Jorawar, another MLA who tendered his resignation with other MLAs on September 25, also went on the back foot. He said that he will support whatever the high command of the party and Sonia Gandhi decide. “I resigned, but it is difficult to swim in the opposite direction.”
Two MLAs have said that they signed the resignation unknowingly. MLA Ganga Devi said that she didn’t read the paper given to her when she went with the MLAs. Similarly, MLA Indira Meena said that she is with the Congress party and has no objection to Sachin Pilot becoming the CM.
Rajiv Gupta, a retired sociology professor from Rajasthan University, said that MLAs are now trying to save themselves. “It is no secret that Ashok Gehlot is a strong leader and no disciplinary action will be taken against him. After the possibility of him not becoming AICC president, MLAs are trying to save themselves from the wrath of the party high command. They don’t want to be caught in the crossfire as their political careers are not over yet. Hence, the tone of the politicians who were confidently challenging the party high command has mellowed down,” said Gupta.
Talking to The New Indian, a Congress party source said that allegation levelled by Shanti Dhariwal against AICC’s state-in-charge Ajay Maken was a bold move. “But not everyone can support his allegations. The reason Dhariwal was chosen is because he is already 78 years of age. If Congress doesn’t come to power in the next term, Dhariwal contesting another election is unlikely. He is on the verge of retirement with little to lose. It is expected that in the upcoming days, the party will reach some conclusion.”
MLA Divya Maderna openly condemned the allegations made by MLA Mahesh Joshi and Dhariwal. She said, “Whatever allegation Dhariwal levelled against Maken is unacceptable and action should be taken against him. Mahesh Joshi and Shanti Dhariwal are the biggest traitors of the party. They are challenging the high command. Whoever the high command chooses as CM, we will accept that person.”
Mahesh Joshi and Cabinet minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas reiterated that no one among them who tried to topple the government should be made the CM. However, both distanced themselves from Dhariwal’s allegations.