Putting all speculations to rest, and somewhat along the expected lines, Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot gets a clean chit for the Rajasthan fiasco from the party’s state in-charge, Ajay Maken.
Maken, who was one of the observers appointed for Rajasthan, submitted his written report to Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday. It is learnt that Maken had given a clean chit to Gehlot, a Gandhi family loyalist, while demanding action against three of Gehlot’s loyalists – Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Dharmendra Rathore.
Maken, who, along with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, was appointed as observers for Rajasthan, met Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Monday. During the meeting, Sonia Gandhi had asked Maken to submit a written report on developments in Rajasthan.
On Sunday, Maken and Kharge had gone to Jaipur to attend the CLP meeting. However, MLAs of the Gehlot camp called a parallel meeting at the residence of Dhariwal over the party’s plan to appoint Sachin Pilot as the successor of Gehlot in the desert state.
Following the meeting, over 90 MLAs submitted their resignations opposing the elevation of Pilot.
Speaking to the media, after his meeting with Congress interim chief on Monday, Maken attacked Gehlot’s camp for pushing for a conditional resolution, terming it a “conflict of interest”.
The former Union Minister also dubbed the act of calling a parallel meeting while a CLP meeting was already planned as “prima facie indiscipline”.
Maken said that representatives of the Gehlot camp, including ministers Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi, and Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, met him and Kharge, on Sunday night with a few sets of conditions.
Maken said that among the conditions was a demand that the resolution to leave the decision to the Congress president can “certainly be passed, but the decision (on the CM) should be taken after October 19”.
“So, we said that if Gehlotji moves a resolution, everything is being left up to the Congress president… And if he becomes President of the Congress after October 19, he is empowered by his own resolution. There cannot be a bigger conflict of interest than this, so we told him to not do this,” the Congress leader said.
“But they said you will have to publicly say this and make it a part of the resolution, that the resolution is being passed today but it will be implemented after October 19,” Maken said.
“Resolution is only one line, and it should not be with a conflict of interest that you are moving a resolution today, contesting the elections, and that tomorrow, if you become the Congress president, you will take a decision on your own resolution. This is a conflict of interest, and this is wrong,” he added.
Maken said that the second condition was the issue of talking with the MLAs. “We told them that we would talk with everyone individually. But they insisted that they would come in groups,” he said, adding, “We told them that it has been the Congress tradition that we talk with everyone individually so that the MLAs can say what they want to say freely and frankly without any pressure”.
“In the third condition, they proposed that a chief minister should be made among the 102 MLAs who were with Gehlot. The pilot or anyone from his group should not be made the Chief Minister. To this, we said that when we meet everyone individually, we shall convey all your emotions to the Congress president,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pilot, who was all set to get the much-awaited elevation in the state, also flew to Delhi. However, it is not clear if he has been given an appointment with Sonia Gandhi.
Even senior party leader and disciplinary committee member AK Antony is all set to meet Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday at her residence.
On Monday, even former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath met Sonia Gandhi. Responding to a question of whether he is in the race to become the party chief, Nath said that he does not want any role in Delhi and wants to stay in MP.