Congress leader and observer for Rajasthan, Ajay Maken on Monday dubbed the “unofficial” meeting conducted by state minister Shanti Dhariwal with the rebel MLAs of the Ashok Gehlot camp an “indisciplined move”, while also stating that the party has never allowed “conditional resolutions” to take place, as against the demands by the group.
Maken, who will return to Delhi today after the Gehlot camp MLAs refused to meet the observers which also included Mallikarjun Kharge, said that Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Pratap Singh met them as the representatives of the MLAs and put three conditions which also included not holding a one-on-one meeting with the observers.
“The meeting of the CLP was scheduled with the approval of the Chief Minister at his residence. For those MLAs who did not turn up, we had been saying that we are here to hear everybody’s issues. We will listen to their issues one-to-one. Whatever you will say will be conveyed in Delhi. Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Hoshi and Pratap Singh came to us as their representatives. They put forward three conditions,” Maken told mediapersons here.
The Congress leader detailed the demands put forward by the Rajasthan rebel Congress leaders.
“One was to announce the implementation of the resolution of handing over the responsibility (to appoint CM) to the Congress President after October 19; we said it’ll be a conflict of interest. If CM Ashok Gehlot becomes Congress chief after October 19, he can’t empower himself over his own resolution. 2nd condition- they wanted to come in groups when we said that we shall talk to everyone individually,” he said.
“We said that it has always been the Congress’ tradition that we hold talks one-on-one so that the MLAs can speak their mind without any pressure. The third condition was that the CM should be from the 102 MLAs who are loyal to CM Ashok Gehlot, not Sachin Pilot or his group. We said that their exact sentiments will be conveyed to the Congress chief, who will take the decision after talking to CM Ashok Gehlot and everyone else. But they kept on insisting that all three points should be a part of the resolution and that the resolution should be based on these conditions. Congress has never allowed conditional resolutions to take place in 75 years of its history,” he said.
“We will present the report to Sonia Gandhi. We waited for more MLAs to come, but they didn’t. Mallikarjun Kharge & I are going to Delhi to submit our report to the Congress chief. No one has any idea about the number and identities of the MLAs who resigned or not,” the Congress leader added.
When asked if any action would be taken against Dhariwal, who led the meeting of the MLAs at his residence on Sunday evening, Maken said it would be decided later.
“It is an act of indiscipline. When an official meeting has been called, and if a parallel unofficial meeting is conducted, it is an act of indiscipline. We will see what action to be taken,” he said.
The Congress leader hoped that the MLAs would find a way out of the political crisis.
“We have no idea how many MLAs have tendered their resignations. We hope that all the Congress MLAs will sit and talk and find a way out,” Maken said.
A legislative party meeting was scheduled on Sunday evening at the residence of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the presence of the observers, which was attended by Sachin Pilot and his camp MLAs, however, the Gehlot loyalists had held a meeting with Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal at his residence, following which over 90 MLAs had submitted their resignations to Speaker CP Joshi.
Pilot, is being seen as the successor of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is all set to contest the Congress president election scheduled on October 17. The Rajasthan deputy chief minister late last night conducted a second round of meeting with the AICC observers.
The Gehlot loyalists want someone from their own camp to be chosen as the next Chief Minister, instead of Pilot, who, according to them, had revolted against his own party back in 2020.
“Among the 102 MLAs who stood firmly with Sonia Gandhi, someone should be elected CM. Shanti Dhariwal and senior MLAs like Pratap Khachariawas and Mahesh Joshi put this thing loudly in front of the observers, the observers assured them that they had come only to take opinion and after taking everyone’s opinion, Congress President Sonia Gandhi will take the decision,” the sources said.