The Congress government in Rajasthan appears to be set for fresh trouble. Months after Rajasthan CM and Congress senior leader Ashok Gehlot baited his colleague Sachin Pilot, yet another senior member of the Congress party, to turn rebel, pushing the Congress government in Rajasthan on the brink of collapse, he has once again managed to miff some MLAs from the latter’s faction.
On March 12 (Friday), three Rajasthan Congress MLAs, namely Ramesh Meena, Murari Lal Meena and Ved Prakash Solanki, who were part of the rebellion against CM Ashok Gehlot last year, accused the Rajasthan Govt led by Gehlot of being biased against the legislators of Scheduled Castes and other backward communities. Accusing the state government of discrimination, Ramesh Meena, the former Food and Civil Supplies minister in Ashok Gehlot’s cabinet, has also threatened to resign.
Ashok Gehlot govt is trying to suppress the voice of legislators representing the backward class: Rajasthan MLAs
The MLAs alleged that the Ashok Gehlot government is trying to suppress the voice of legislators who represent the SC/ST and OBCs as they have been allotted seats in the assembly without microphones.
“I will meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi regarding this issue. I have sought time for a meeting. If our problems are not resolved, then I will not step back from resigning,” Meena said outside the state assembly.
The development comes on the heels of an argument which ensued between Meena and Speaker CP Joshi inside in the Assembly over the former not having a microphone on his chair.
Ramesh Meena, who was ostracized from the cabinet after he joined the rebellion by former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot last year, said: “I don’t seek a ministerial post, but only development. I am a Congress worker. I have sought time from Rahul Gandhi. If he listens to us, then it is fine, or else I won’t hesitate in giving my resignation letter.”
If we are not getting heard, how will SC/STs and OBCs be heard: former minister Ramesh Meena
Talking to media persons outside the Assembly Friday, Meena said: “We are elected MLAs and are ruling party MLAs. I respect the Speaker, and he can seat me on the floor, but there should be an arrangement for us to speak. A message should not go in my Assembly constituency that I don’t have a microphone and I’m not being allowed to speak.”
“If we ourselves are not getting heard in the Assembly, and if we are not being taken seriously, how will other SC/STs and OBCs be heard. The present Congress government was formed with SC/STs, OBC and minorities, and if they themselves are facing discrimination…” he added, accusing Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi of discrimination when it comes to seating “MLAs from the marginalised communities.”
It may be recalled that in July last year, rebel party leader Sachin Pilot had sent the Congress party in a tizzy when he along with 20-25 Congress and independent MLAs approached senior party leaders in Delhi to express his angst against the Ashok Gehlot government, leading people to speculate that the Rajasthan government was on the brink of collapse. Soon after, Sachin Pilot was ousted as Deputy CM and state Congress chief by the Congress party which accused him of conspiring with BJP to destabilise govt.
This was followed by a month-long enthralling drama, with Ashok Gehlot first disclosing that the two were not in talking terms for the past 1.5 years. The tussle became bitter when the Rajasthan CM lashed out at the rebel leader by calling him “nikamma and nakaara (useless)”.
The show reached its climax with ultimately Sachin Pilot returning to his home turf and conceding before Ashok Gehlot. Soon, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot informed that a 3-member committee has been constituted by the Congress party to resolve grievances with Sachin Pilot. He claimed that peace and brotherhood would always remain in the grand old party.
Now, with the fresh trouble brewing against Ashok Gehlot, people are being forced to speculate whether the Congress government in Rajasthan is once again heading towards a similar scenario.