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Rajasthan Cong Crisis: Maken Accuses Gehlot Backers of 'Indiscipline', Kamal Nath Called to Delhi

Political drama heats up over leadership change following chief minister Ashok Gehlot's announcement that he would contest the Congress president polls.
rajasthan congress

Image Courtesy: PTI

Jaipur/New Delhi:  Congress in-charge for Rajasthan Ajay Maken on Monday accused MLAs in the Ashok Gehlot camp of “indiscipline” and said their demand setting conditions for a party resolution on picking the next chief minister was a “conflict of interest”.

"In the 75 years of Congress history, there has never been a conditional resolution. Resolution is one-line only. Everything is told to the Congress president and then a decision is taken," Maken told reporters here before leaving for New Delhi.

"Resolution should not have any conflict of interest. Those who are contesting elections and tomorrow become party president, they get to decide on the resolution and this is a conflict of interest. So, it is wrong," he said without naming Gehlot.

In a related development, the Congress high command has called senior leader Kamal Nath to Delhi who is likely to meet party chief Sonia Gandhi on Monday, sources said.

The visit of Kamal Nath, the Madhya Pradesh Congress chief, to Delhi comes amid a political drama in Rajasthan over leadership change following Ashok Gehlot's announcement that he would contest the Congress president polls.

Kamal Nath is known to have close ties with the Rajasthan chief minister and could be asked to broker a truce, the sources said.

On Sunday night, Rajasthan ministers Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Pratap Singh Khachariyawas had met Maken and another AICC observer Mallikarjun Kharge at the Chief Minister Gehlot's residence to convey the message of the MLAs loyal to him.

Maken said the delegation put forward three conditions: A decision on the selection of chief minister should be taken after the Congress presidential election, the chief minister should be from among those MLAs who stood with the government during the political crisis in 2020 and not from the Pilot camp, and the AICC observers should hold meetings in groups instead of one-to-one as sought by the high command.

"We will listen to everyone. No decision is being taken. Whatever you will say will be conveyed to Delhi... We have directions to hold one-to-one meetings with MLAs so that they speak frankly," Maken said.

"So, no one should be worried that their feelings and thoughts are not being conveyed. But, they (delegation of ministers) insisted that their three demands should be part of the resolution," he said.

Maken said he and Kharge kept waiting for the MLAs on Sunday night but they did not turn up. "So today, we are returning to New Delhi to apprise Sonia Gandhi about the developments," he added.

On Monday, Joshi, who is also Congress' chief whip in the Rajasthan Assembly, said the party MLAs have no objection to whoever is made the chief minister, but the final decision of the high command should be agreeable to them.

Meanwhile, a video purportedly of a meeting of the Congress MLAs loyal to Gehlot has surfaced. Minister Shanti Dhariwal, at whose residence the meeting took place, is heard saying in the video that the Congress will suffer losses if Gehlot is removed from the chief minister's post.

Gehlot, along with state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra, met AICC observers Kharge and Maken at a hotel on the Jaipur-Delhi highway on Monday. Some of the Congress MLAs were also seen at the hotel.

Kharge and Maken left for Delhi after the meeting.

The Congress in Rajasthan plunged into a crisis on Sunday as several MLAs loyal to Gehlot resigned over a possible move to appoint Sachin Pilot as Gehlot's successor, their rebellion erupting just ahead of a Congress Legislature Party meeting.

"The doubts of the MLAs should be cleared by the high command and then, whatever decision is taken will be accepted. We do not have any objection if anyone is made the chief minister but the final decision should have consensus," Joshi told reporters here.

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