Pilot’s flight may fail to take off as Ashok Gehlot-loyalist MLAs in Rajasthan threaten to quit

Rajasthan on Sunday saw a high drama as a group of Congress MLAs loyal to chief minister Ashok Gehlot headed to the assembly Speaker CP Joshi’s residence to submit their resignation ahead of a legislature party (CLP) meeting which was likely to pick his successor.

The MLAs’ likely resignations to oppose the appointment of the new Rajasthan chief minister from those who rebelled against the Gehlot government in July 2020, sources said.

The development suggested a worsening power struggle between the chief minister and Sachin Pilot who was tipped to be Gehlot’s replacement after he declared his candidature for the Congress president’s post.

Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, along with Gehlot, reached the chief minister’s residence where the CLP meeting was to be held. Pilot reached there separately. About 25 legislators were present there, news agency PTI reported.

However, a large group of MLAs loyal to Gehlot who held a meeting at minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence decided to go to Joshi’s residence to submit their resignation.

“All the MLAs are angry and are resigning. We are going to the speaker for that. MLAs are upset that how can CM Ashok Gehlot take a decision without consulting them,” news agency ANI quoted Congress MLA Pratap Singh Khachariyawas as saying.

Khachariyawas said Gehlot should pay heed to the suggestions of MLAs. “We have 92 MLAs with us,” the Congress leader claimed.

Gehlot is expected to quit as the chief minister of Rajasthan if he wins the election to the post of the Congress national president, as the party has a “one-man one-post” policy.

The Congress has 107 seats in the Rajasthan assembly, including six MLAs from the BSP, who joined the Congress in 2019. At the time of Pilot’s rebellion in July 2020, the former Rajasthan deputy chief minister had the support of just 20 MLAs, and the number has not increased till now, so most of the MLAs are still with Gehlot.

(With inputs from ANI. PTI)