Monday, December 11, 2023

Loyalist MLAs resign amid tussle over Gehlot’s likely successor

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As the political situation in Rajasthan grew worse, a number of Congress MLAs who supported the chief minister Ashok Gehlot tendered their resignations to assembly speaker CP Joshi. An important Congress legislature party (CLP) meeting was scheduled for Sunday, and this coincided with speculation about Gehlot’s future successor as he prepares to run for president of the Congress in the upcoming month. It’s estimated that about 90 MLAs filed their letters of resignation.

The CLP meeting should take place after October 19, after the presidential elections are over, according to people with an understanding of the situation. Hours after more than 80 MLAs were seen boarding a bus, reportedly headed for the speaker’s house to submit their resignations, a four-member delegation made up of Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi, Pratap Singh, and independent legislator Sanyam Lodha told senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken.

Referring to Sachin Pilot’s rebellion nearly two years ago, they stated that if Ashok Gehlot is nominated for the top party position, the chief minister should be picked from among the 102 MLAs who supported the party during the crisis in 2020.

Ashok Gehlot and Shashi Tharoor are the front-runners in the race for the party’s presidency. If Gehlot wins, he will have to resign as chief minister due to the party’s “one man, one post” rule. Sachin Pilot is thought to be Gehlot’s most likely successor.

His supporters said on Sunday that Gehlot ought to participate in choosing the new chief minister. People with knowledge of the events noted that they refused to adopt any resolution and instead left it up to the party high command to select the future chief minister of Rajasthan. At 12 am, the MLAs departed from the speaker’s home.

Gehlot and Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken had arrived to the chief minister’s house earlier in the evening, where the Congress Legislature Party meeting was scheduled to take place. Pilot was said to have also arrived.

Following a meeting at the home of state minister Shanti Dhariwal, the Gehlot-aligned group of lawmakers headed to Speaker CP Joshi’s house to tender their resignation. 

“Every MLA is furious and is quitting. For that, we’re going to the speaker. MLAs are furious because they don’t understand how CM Ashok Gehlot can make decisions without consulting them, according to Congress MLA Pratap Singh Khachariyawas.

“CM Gehlot need to take the advice of the MLAs seriously. We are joined by 92 MLAs “he added. 

Gehlot and Pilot reportedly clashed over the position of chief minister after the Congress won the Rajasthan state legislature elections in 2018. The third time Gehlot was selected as chief minister, Pilot became his deputy.

Pilot had taken up camp in Haryana with MLAs who backed him after taking up arms against Gehlot in July 2020. After the Gandhi family, he formally declared his return to Rajasthan. He supposedly received a guarantee that his complaints would be taken care of.

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