As Team Gehlot Snubs AICC Efforts, Ajay Maken Says Their Demands In Conflict Of Interest

In a massive display of defiance against the Gandhis, more than 90 Rajasthan Congress MLAs declined to meet with central officials this morning. The party referred to this behaviour as “indiscipline” on the part of the MLAs. The Congress could take action against the MLAs who led the uprising in favour of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, news agency ANI reported.

In an effort to diffuse the political tension, the Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken are persuading the CM’s supporters to meet with them one at a time.

As a result of rumours that competitor Sachin Pilot will succeed Ashok Gehlot as Rajasthan’s chief minister once he assumes the position of Congress president, Gehlot’s loyalist Congress MLAs have vowed to resign.

MLAs missed a meeting convened by the central leaders yesterday night for an official declaration on Gehlot standing for Congress president and a new Chief Minister, which was their first act of rebellion.

Following a separate meeting, the MLAs vowed to quit all at once.

The two principal observers, Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge, left without reaching a decision this morning after the MLAs declined to meet with them.

“We waited for more MLAs to come, but they didn’t. Mallikarjun Kharge & I are going to Delhi to submit our report to Cong chief. No one has any idea about the number & identities of the MLAs who resigned or not. We are hopeful to sit & talk through this to find a solution,” he said. 

“Mallikarjun Kharge & I came here as AICC observers to hold a meeting in accordance with CM’s convenience at the latter’s residence. We were continuously telling the MLAs who didn’t come to come & talk one-to-one,” Ajay Maken said. 

The MLAs informed the leaders that any discussions on a new chief minister should wait until after the results of the election for the Congress president on October 19 were known.

“Cong MLAs Pratap Khachariyawas, S Dhariwal & CP Joshi met us, kept 3 demands. One was to announce the implementation of resolution of handing over the responsibility (to appoint CM) to Congress President after Oct 19; we said it’ll be a conflict of interest,” Maken said.

Additionally, the MLAs demanded that they would go in groups rather than individually. “If CM Ashok Gehlot becomes Congress chief after Oct 19,he can empower himself over his own resolution. 2nd condition- they wanted to come in groups when we said that we shall talk to everyone individually;we made it clear that this isn’t how it works,but they didn’t accept,” he said. 

Moreover, the MLAs are certain that the new Chief Minister be picked from among the 102 lawmakers who assisted in saving the government when Sachin Pilot rose up against Gehlot in 2020.

“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 Cong chief, who will take the decision after talking to CM Ashok Gehlot & everyone else,” he said. 

“They (Cong MLAs) insisted that the resolution be in line with 3 conditions, to which we said that never in the history of Congress has any resolution been passed with strings attached to it & which is conditional. There should be no conflict of interest,” he added.