Twist in the Congress tale: Pro-Gehlot MLAs revolt against Pilot becoming Rajasthan CM

The 102 pro-Gehlot MLAs are headed for the residence of Assembly speaker C P Joshi's house to resign, according to the latest information.
Congress party's Jaipur jeopardy: In this file image Rahul Gandhi waves to the crowd as Ashok Gehlot and  Sachin Pilot looks on during a rally. (Photo | PTI)
Congress party's Jaipur jeopardy: In this file image Rahul Gandhi waves to the crowd as Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot looks on during a rally. (Photo | PTI)

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Congress on Sunday night witnessed a full-blown rebellion against the high command, with the faction loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot refusing to accept the decision to anoint Sachin Pilot as the successor. The unwilling Gehlot has been directed to step down as he is the Gandhi family’s choice for the party’s national presidentship, nominations for which began on Friday.

Instead of attending a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting called at 7.30 pm at Gehlot’s residence to decide on the change of guard, they trooped to the house of Assembly Speaker C P Joshi to ‘tender their resignation’. The high command had deputed AICC observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge to oversee the meeting. “102 MLAs are with us. Will they listen to us or the other 10-15 MLAs?” Gehlot loyalist and minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas asked.

While Gehlot lobbied for C P Joshi as his successor, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka insisted on picking Pilot instead. To facilitate the decision, the CLP meeting was expected to issue a one-line resolution authorising the party president to name its new leader.

But Khachariyawas said, “Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should understand the sentiments of the MLAs. The proposed resolution is not acceptable to them. When the government was in crisis, everyone supported it. But now the legislators are not being heard. That’s why they are angry.”

Independent MLA Sanyam Lodha said the new CM should be one of 102 MLAs who stayed in hotels for 38 days to save the Congress government two years ago. Alluding to Pilot, he said, those who tried to topple the government cannot be accepted as CM. Congress has 108 in the 200-member House. It also has the support of 13 Independents.

Late in the night, Khachariyawas and a few others met Kharge and Maken. Later, Maken said he and Kharge will meet every MLA individually to ascertain their views. But other angry pro-Gehlot MLAs refused to meet the AICC observers. They said the decision on Rajasthan should be taken only after the verdict of the national presidential polls is out. Till then the CLP meeting should not be held, they asserted.

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