New Delhi: The Congress party was caught up in a crisis in Rajasthan on Sunday ahead of its legislature party meeting as several MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot submitted their resignation letters over a possible move to appoint Sachin Pilot as the next CM. As Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken waited for the legislators at Gehlot’s residence for the legislature party meeting, the Gehlot loyalists headed to speaker CP Joshi’s residence saying that they were resigning as MLAs.
Pilot and his supporters came but the meeting was a washout.
Late at night, Kharge and Maken made efforts to persuade Gehlot loyalists to meet them one on one, if not as part of the planned MLAs’ meeting, reported news agency PTI.
Ministers Shanti Dhariwal, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Mahesh Joshi, along with CM Gehlot’s advisor Sanyam Lodha met the All India Congress Committee observers, but the standoff continued.
Both the AICC observers will come back to Delhi today and submit the report to top leadership after which next step will be decided, reported news agency ANI citing its sources.
As per the report, Gehlot loyalists claimed that over 90 MLAs had reached the Speaker’s residence to tender the resignation. In a House of 200, Congress has 108 MLAs in Rajasthan.
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There has been no statement from the Speaker’s office yet on the resignation of the MLAs.
According to the report, citing its sources, the Gehlot camp had put forth three conditions.
They wanted the decision on the next CM to be left till after the Congress organisational election and stressed that Gehlot should have a say in picking the new CM who should be someone who stood by the veteran leader during the rebellion by Pilot supporters in 2020.
Around midnight, the loyalists began dispersing from Joshi’s home.
“We have submitted our resignation and are now going home. The MLAs want that any decision on the CM’s should be taken only after the election of the party’s national president,” minister Govind Ram Meghwal said.
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The loyalists said the views of MLAs should be taken into account.
“Later, whatever decision taken by the high command will be accepted,”independent MLA Babulal Nagar said.
The aborted CLP meeting was seen as crucial step ahead of Gehlot filing his nomination for the Congress president’s post, amid speculation that the former deputy chief minister Pilot will take his place in the state.