Rajasthan Congress MLA Shanti Kumar Dhariwal on Monday alleged that there is a “deep conspiracy” to remove Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot from his post, NDTV reported.
He also accused the party’s Central observer and Rajasthan in-charge Ajay Maken of promoting Gehlot’s rival, Sachin Pilot, in the state.
“I accuse the Secretary-General in charge of Rajasthan [Maken] of being biased,” Dhariwal said. “He is canvassing for Pilot and wants to make him the chief minister.”
The Congress government in Rajasthan plunged into a crisis on Sunday hours after Gehlot hinted that he would quit as chief minister. The 71-year-old is running to be the next president of the Congress, for which elections will take place on October 17.
On Sunday evening, several Congress MLAs boycotted an important meeting of the party that was organised to pass a resolution empowering the Congress president to pick Gehlot’s successor. The MLAs instead went to the residence of Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi and submitted their resignation amid speculation that Pilot could be appointed as the next chief minister.
Supporters of Gehlot claim that around 90 legislators tendered their resignation to the Speaker, who is yet to take a call on them.
On Monday, Maken said he had met the MLAs in Jaipur and rebuked them for skipping the party’s legislature meeting. “When the official meeting is kept, no parallel meeting should take place and it primarily amounts to indiscipline,” he added.
The Congress in-charge for Rajasthan stated that Gehlot’s supporters have raised three demands, including passing a resolution to choose the next chief minister after the Congress president is elected on October 19.
The MLAs also want Gehlot to have a say in choosing his successor and that the post should be given to an individual who stood by the chief minister when Pilot staged a revolt against the party in August 2020, triggering a political crisis.
Meanwhile, Congress chief whip and Cabinet minister Mahesh Joshi said that he believes the MLAs did not do anything that amounts to indiscipline, The Indian Express reported.
“If we are asked for a clarification by the Congress high command in writing or orally, or we are sent any notice, then we will clarify our position,” Joshi said. “There can be no doubt over our dedication towards the party and high command.”