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Rajasthan political crisis deepens; Ashok Gehlot loyalists put three demands before Congress

Congress in Rajasthan has plunged into a crisis as several MLAs, who are close to Ashok Gehlot, submitted their resignations over a possible move to appoint Sachin Pilot as the next chief minister.

Rajasthan political crisis deepens; Ashok Gehlot loyalists put three demands before Congress

New Delhi: The Congress in Rajasthan plunged into a crisis on Sunday (September 25, 2022) as several MLAs, who are loyal to Ashok Gehlot, submitted their resignations over a possible move to appoint Sachin Pilot as the next state chief minister. The development came amid a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting, which was called to discuss the leadership of the government going forward if Gehlot is elected as the new party president in the election scheduled next month.

While over 90 MLAs visited Speaker CP Joshi's home after a long meeting at minister Shanti Dhariwal's residence, Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken kept waiting for them to arrive for the CLP meet. Ministers Dhariwal, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Mahesh Joshi, along with Gehlot's advisor Sanyam Lodha, however, met the AICC observers later.

Ashok Gehlot loyalists' three demands before Congress

1. The Ashok Gehlot loyalists wanted the call on the next Rajasthan chief minister to take place after the Congress presidential poll, which is scheduled to get over by October 19. 

2. As the Congress observers were trying to persuade Gehlot loyalists to meet them one by one, they said they instead wanted to meet them in the group. 

3. The legislators also stressed that Ashok Gehlot should have a say in picking the new Rajasthan chief minister and that the new CM should be someone who stood by the veteran leader during the rebellion by Sachin Pilot supporters in 2020. 

It is noteworthy that Gehlot and Sachi Pilot were at loggerheads over the chief minister's post after the Congress won the Assembly elections in December 2018. The high command had then chosen Gehlot as the chief minister while Pilot was made his deputy. Later in July 2020, Pilot along with 18 party MLAs had rebelled against Gehlot's leadership.

Here's what Congress observers told Ashok Gehlot loyalists

1. To the first demand, the Congress observers told the Ashok Gehlot loyalists that announcing the implementation of the resolution of handing over the responsibility to appoint CM to Congress President after October 19 will be a "conflict of interest".

2. On the second condition that the legislators wanted to come in groups instead of having one-on-one talks, the Congress observers made it clear that this "isn't how it works". 

3. On the third demand that the new Rajasthan CM should be from the 102 MLAs who are loyal to Ashok Gehlot, and not Sachin Pilot or from his group, the Congress observers said that their "sentiments will be conveyed to party's interim chief Sonia Gandhi. 

(With agency inputs)

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