The Congress high command has agreed to retain the status quo in the state until the nomination process for party chief polls is over following two days of nonstop drama in Rajasthan and a flurry of meetings at 10 Janpath (September 30).
Ajay Maken, the AICC’s regional director for Rajasthan, has been charged with being part of a plot to depose Gehlot as chief minister and has been accused of campaigning for Pilot by Gehlot supporter Shanti Kumar Dhariwal.
The Legislature party meeting where Ashok Gehlot’s replacement was to be announced was postponed on Sunday by more than 80 MLAs. Instead, they declined to meet one-on-one with the Central leaders, Ajay Maken and Mallikharjun Kharge, who had been sent by Sonia Gandhi, and went to the Speaker, threatening a mass resignation.
In light of recent events, the Congress high command is unlikely to address the Rajasthan leadership transition until the nominating process for the party chief elections is complete (September 30).
Ashok Gehlot, who has denied having any involvement in the current situation, is no longer running for party president. Senior party figures including Kharge, Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, KC Venugopal, and Mukul Wasnik’s names are currently making the rounds as potential candidates for the position.
The demands put out by the Gehlot-aligned MLAs have also been noted by Maken and Kharge. Maken criticised the conditional resolution, saying it created a conflict of interest because Gehlot was the front-runner for the position and might keep his position as chief minister if a decision were made before the Congress presidential election. The party’s “one man, one role” tenet, which Rahul Gandhi just reinforced in public, is violated by this.
Ashok Gehlot, who has experienced several political storms throughout his career, now has three choices. He can first formally renounce his bid for the Congress presidential nomination while continuing to serve as Rajasthan’s chief minister till elections are held the following year.