JAIPUR: Suspense continues over the future of over 90 pro-CM Ashok Gehlot MLAs who had resigned on September 25 to pressure the Congress high command not to change the CM in the state. After boycotting the legislature party meeting in Jaipur that day, the MLAs had met at cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence.
Ever since, the BJP has been demanding that the Assembly Speaker accept those MLAs’ resignation, but there is no response. In media interactions, Speaker CP Joshi has kept quiet on the issue. In a press conference called by Joshi about the museum being built within the Assembly premises on Friday, Joshi was evasive about MLAs’ resignation, saying the presser was called only for museum’s inauguration.
The internal politics of the state Congress came to a boil following Gehlot’s projection as the Gandhi family candidate for the post of party chief. The party appointed two observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken to get the opinion of the legislators for the selection of the new CM.
While in Jaipur on September 25, the two found that more than 90 MLAs from the Gehlot faction boycotted the CLP meeting. Gehlot had to go to Delhi and publicly apologize to Sonia Gandhi, and refused to contest the election for the top party post. The party issued notices to three pro-Gehlot leaders -- Mahesh Joshi, Shanti Dhariwal and Dharmendra Rathore -- but nothing is known about the action taken vis-a-vis the response of the three leaders.
During his visit to the Tanot Mata temple in Jaisalmer, Gehlot had told reporters: “It has been our tradition that whenever the CLP meets during elections or for the selection of a CM, a one-line proposal is passed that we are giving the right (to make the decision) to the Congress president. I believe this will happen.”
The decision to empower the high command to take a call essentially meant agreeing to its probable decision to go with Sachin Pilot – something unacceptable to Gehlot loyalists, who pointed out Pilot’s rebellion and are also insecure about their position in the government if Pilot took over.
After the high drama ended, A BJP delegation had given a memorandum to Speaker Joshi on October 18 on the resignation of the MLAs and also indicated that the party would meet the Governor soon. Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore threatened to go to court. The political buzz is that the matter would be consigned to cold storage with party celebrations being planned for the fourth anniversary of the Gehlot government and Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.