The police in Ajmer city of Rajasthan on Wednesday dispersed Congress workers, allegedly forcibly, who tore posters and shouted slogans against Health Minister Raghu Sharma and in favour of former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, the Hindustan Times reported. The incident took place outside the venue of a Rajasthan Congress feedback meeting chaired by Ajay Maken at the party office. Sharma is believed to be close to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Rakesh Pareek, Congress MLA from Masudha, went to the police station and demanded that the Congress workers be freed. He and his supporters then sat on a protest outside the police station. Ajmer Superintendent of Police Kunwar Rashtradeep told the media that the Congress workers had been dispersed as they were tearing posters, but none had been arrested. The police denied using batons to disperse the demonstrators, PTI reported.
“When we came out from the meeting, we learnt that supporters of leaders were raising slogans,” Pareek told reporters. “The police misbehaved with some of the workers from Masudha Assembly constituency. They were also asked to remove clothes – what crime have they done? Raising Sachin Pilot Jindabad slogans cannot be a crime.”
Pareek, one of the 18 MLAs who had rebelled along with Pilot, said the party unit in Masudha will apprise Maken, Pilot, state party chief Govind Singh Dotasra and Gehlot of the matter. Pareek demanded action against the police officers.
After meeting workers and leaders of Ajmer division on Wednesday, Maken is scheduled to meet those from Jaipur division on Thursday.
Maken is a member of the three-member committee appointed by the party’s central leadership to address problems brought up by Pilot and his supporters. Maken is tasked with preparing a report to be submitted to the party high command, News18 reported.
The Congress leader said at a press conference later in the day that he was unable to give time to all party workers due to restrictions in place in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Maken added that he was ready to talk to each leader personally. “I along with the state party chief will also hold a meeting every month in Jaipur to discuss the reports and the feedback submitted by ministers in charge of the districts,” he said.
Congress imbroglio in Rajasthan
The Congress on August 16 appointed Maken the general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, two days after the Gehlot-led government won the trust vote in the Assembly. Maken replaced Avinash Pandey at the top post. Pandey’s replacement was one of the key demands made by the Pilot camp.
Maken and Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had been in Rajasthan for nearly a month to work a way out of the political crisis in the state.
The Gehlot-led Congress government won a trust vote in the Assembly on August 14, ending a month-long political turmoil in the state, triggered by Pilot’s revolt against the party. A day before the trust vote, Pilot and Gehlot met at a key Congress meeting, where they were seen greeting each other. On August 10, the Congress secured a truce with Pilot by announcing a three-member panel to address his grievances.