The resignation of Jitin Prasada, one of Congress’ senior leaders, has inflicted a significant blow to the party. Recognizing that the Congress party, which is on the verge of disintegration, cannot afford to lose any of its last prominent figures, Rajasthan Congress in-charge Ajay Maken has assured that all pending grievances of former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and his camp that rebelled against Gehlot will be addressed shortly. He also said that as per the demands put forth by the Pilot camp, the vacant cabinet seats in the state government will be filed soon.
Ajay Maken’s comment came in reaction to Pilot’s statements that the party’s high command is yet to resolve the issues that led to his rebellion against chief minister Ashok Gehlot in July 2020. He also claimed that a committee appointed to address his issues last year had failed to deliver on the promises that were made to him when he along with 18 legislators returned to the party after a month-long drama.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, six lawmakers close to former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met with him in his Jaipur residence on Thursday. They then asked the Congress high command to fill vacant seats in the state government quickly. They further demanded that the government must make important political appointments as soon as possible.
Following a two-hour meeting with Pilot, one of the legislators, Ved Prakash Solanki of the Chaksu assembly constituency, pointed to a Congress panel investigating problems with the party’s Punjab unit and asked why, if issues raised by Punjab Congress leaders can be addressed in 10 days, should the concerns of the Rajasthan unit not be addressed in 10 months.
“There has been no discussion or hearings on the demands raised by us…it’s not about the discussions with us but the way issues of Punjab Congress were heard and a report is submitted in 10 days has disappointed workers here. When in Punjab things can happen in 10 days, why it cannot be done here in 10 months?” he asked.
“I am saying repeatedly that governance should be decentralised, and political appointments be done as soon as possible, be it at the block, district or state level. I also want to say that cabinet expansion should be done… if the CM does not want to consider people belonging to this side (Pilot camp)… don’t do it. At least consider his own people and Congress workers. This is not the time for yours’ or mine but of Congress workers, who worked hard to bring party government in the state. They should be given importance,” he added.
Another MLA, Mukesh Bhakar, also seconded Solanki stand on cabinet expansion and political appointments, and said: “Those who worked hard for five years should get their dues.”
He added, “Our struggle is ongoing. My leader is Pilot and I am with him always in any political situation.”
For the unversed, Congress had in August deputed a 3-member committee of senior leaders including the AICC in-charge Ajay Maken to resolve the differences between the Gehlot and Pilot camps.
The infighting within the Rajasthan Congress
The rift between the two groups within the state administration became clear in July last year, when rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot was dismissed as Deputy Chief Minister and State Congress Chief by the Congress party, which accused him of plotting with the BJP to destabilise the government.
This was followed by a month-long enthralling drama, with Ashok Gehlot first disclosing that the two were not on 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.