As Ashok Gehlot meets Sonia Gandhi, Punjabi air in crisis in Rajasthan: The Tribune India
New Delhi, September 29
As Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot began his crucial meeting with Congress Speaker Sonia Gandhi this afternoon, a familiar scenario seemed to be unfolding.
Prior to the unceremonious removal of former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh at the end of 2021 on the eve of national elections, Congress had launched a Rajasthan-like exercise of “individual consultation with MPs on who they wish to see as their leader”.
After the protracted exercise led by Rahul Gandhi ended, Sonia Gandhi called a meeting of the Punjab CLP which the captain claimed he had no idea.
The then CM also said he was told hours before the PLC meeting that he had to resign.
Charanjit Singh Channi was installed as Capt’s replacement after Congress argued that internal investigations had indicated massive anti-incumbency against Capt – a reason he cited for the advisory exercise to remove the Punjab CM .
Channi’s support was later challenged by then Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar (now in the BJP) who claimed he had the support of maximum MPs but was ignored.
When the Punjab election results came in, the AAP swept the state, Channi lost its two seats and the Congress was down to 18, its lowest tally in the state.
Now on to Rajasthan: Ministers close to the state CM Ashok Gehlot have for days alleged a plot to impeach Gehlot, with the party again citing “investigations showing anti-incumbent attitude against the CM”.
Although the Punjabscript is set in Rajasthan, a crucial difference between the two stories is the support Gehlot enjoys from state deputies, unlike Capt Amarinder in Punjab.
Pro-Gehlot ministers held a press conference this morning and publicly accused Rajasthan party general secretary Ajay Maken of fueling a plot to depose the CM.
“We were the ones who supported the party when Sachin Pilot rebelled in July 2020. Party loyalists were rewarded with disciplinary notices,” said a Rajasthan minister adding that Gehlot had been elected CM for five years.
We learn that behind the scenes, the general secretary of the AICC, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, could be active in the developments of Rajasthan, as she was in Punjab.
At the time of aborting his rebellion, Pilot had received assurances from Priyanka, who now sees a chance to keep her promises.
In this power play, it remains to be seen whether Gehlot can keep his territory and his job as chief minister or if he too will be kicked out like Amarinder Singh.
The jury is out and some clarity should emerge by tonight.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi’s insistence on one person and one job promise taken by the party in Udaipur is also being debated in party circles with a Gehlot loyalist asking, “Many promises were taken during this same conclave. Why this obsession with a single promise concerning a person, a position? What is the reason ? »
Rajasthan is one of only two states (the other being Chhattisgarh) where only Congress is in power.
Elections in Rajasthan are scheduled for the end of 2023.