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Factionalism deepens Rajasthan crisis ahead of Congress Prez poll

Before a formal announcement in favour of Sachin Pilot for chief ministership, there was a revolt in Rajasthan with 90 MLAs of the Ashok Gehlot camp resigning en masse.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The political crisis in Rajasthan has deepened amid the Bharat Jodi Yatra ahead of the election to the new national president for the Congress. Ever since Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had announced to contest for the post of party president, there has been speculation over his replacement as state chief minister.

While Sachin Pilot, his deputy is a hot favourite, MLAs from Gehlot camp don’t want him to succeed the incumbent. Hence, before a formal announcement in favour of Sachin Pilot for chief ministership, there was a revolt in Rajasthan with 90 MLAs of the Ashok Gehlot camp resigning en masse.

Among these MLAs are Chetan Dudi, Baljit Yadav, Rafiq Khan, Mahendra Chaudhary, Rohit Bohra Dhariwal and Gehlot’s close friends and RTDC President Dharmendra Rathod.

The Gehlot faction claims to have 92 MLAs in their camp against 16 MLAs who owe allegiance to Sachin Pilot.

Congress leader Pratap Khachariawas of the Gehlot faction has claimed that he has 92 MLAs with him who resigned in solidarity with Gehlot. Only 16 MLAs are left with the pilot camp. However, till now, no claim has been made by the Pilot group regarding the number of MLAs.

Minister Parsadi Lal Meena said in Dausa that the CM should be elected by the opinion of 102 MLAs. He said if he becomes the national president by October 19, the CM’s decision will be taken.

Meanwhile, party president Sonia Gandhi had directed Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken to talk to one rebel MLA from each camp to resolve the matter. However, the MLAs refused to meet the two leaders till they agreed to certain conditions. Congress’s high command does not seem to concede to their conditions. The high command has called former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath to Delhi to play a mediator to resolve the crisis. Ashok Gehlot is considered close to Kamal Nath.

Rahul Gandhi, on his part, has also held talks with Maken, Venugopal and other leaders. Venugopal is reaching Delhi today. He will also meet Sonia Gandhi.

According to Congress sources, the high command is very angry with the attitude of Ashok Gehlot. The party says that everything in Rajasthan was done by asking Ashok Gehlot. Despite this, the manner in which all the spectacle was done, it is not right. This has tarnished the image of Ashok Gehlot.

The party is thinking of making him the president. In such a situation, he should not do this for the post of chief minister. Of course, Ashok Gehlot has made it clear that he has no hand in this entire political drama. But the party high command feels that all this is happening at the behest of Ashok Gehlot.

The party also feels people around him have convinced Gehlot that the chief minister’s chair is bigger than that of the party president, that’s why the political drama is played out.

Meanwhile, Rajendra Rathore, Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan, said the current situation in Rajasthan is pointing towards President’s rule.