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100 pc conspiracy to remove CM Gehlot, will not tolerate traitors being rewarded: Rajasthan Minister Shanti Dhariwal
Jaipur: Rajasthan cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal on Monday lashed out at Congress' state in-charge Ajay Maken alleging that he was part of a "conspiracy" to remove Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Dhariwal, a Gehlot loyalist who had held a meeting of MLAs on Sunday to oppose Sachin Pilot's possible elevation to the CM post, took a veiled swipe at Pilot and said that Rajasthan MLAs will not sit through and tolerate if traitors are being rewarded. "It was a 100 per cent conspiracy to remove the CM (Ashok Gehlot) and the general secretary incharge was a part of it. I am not talking about anyone else, no charge on Kharge but only the General Secretary incharge," said Dhariwal.
He further said that disgruntled lawmakers of Rajasthan asked him to "listen to their voice".
"A general secretary is himself canvassing to make such people chief minister who betrayed the party and because of it, MLAs had to get angry and disgruntled. MLAs asked me to listen to their voice. They want someone from 102 MLAs who huddled together to stay with Congress for over 34 days (in 2020) to be made CM," he added.
The Rajasthan Minister further said that Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi can choose anyone from the Gehlot camp, and whatever her decision is that will be duly accepted and obliged.
"No one can challenge Sonia ji's decision," he said.
State minister Mahesh Joshi also said, "High Command can make anyone CM, make a new CM or keep CM Gehlot intact. It should not be one of those who revolted against the party and tried to weaken it."
A legislative party meeting was scheduled on Sunday evening at the residence of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the presence of the observers, which was attended by Sachin Pilot and his camp MLAs, the Gehlot loyalists had held a meeting with Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal at his residence, following which over 90 MLAs had submitted their resignations to Speaker CP Joshi.
Pilot, is being seen as the successor of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is all set to contest the Congress president election scheduled on October 17. The Rajasthan deputy chief minister late last night conducted a second round of meeting with the AICC observers.
The Gehlot loyalists want someone from their own camp to be chosen as the next Chief Minister, instead of Pilot, who, according to them, had revolted against his own party back in 2020.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge will submit the report to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday around 12 noon about the political developments in Rajasthan, said sources.
Earlier on Monday, Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge briefed party chief Sonia Gandhi about the developments.
However, Sonia Gandhi asked Maken and Kharge, who were appointed observers for the legislature party meeting, to give a written report.
"Mallikarjun Kharge and I briefed Congress chief everything about our meetings in Rajasthan in detail. Now she has asked us for a written report that will be given to her," Maken told reporters.
The political crisis has been triggered by Ashok Gehlot apparently agreeing to file his nomination in the Congress presidential polls and wanting a successor of his choice in Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, sources had earlier said that the status quo will be maintained till the process is over for filing nominations as the Congress seeks to tide over the political crisis in Rajasthan triggered by efforts to find a successor to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who is likely to fight the party's presidential polls.
With party observers slamming some actions of loyalists of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, sources said decision on issuing show cause notices to miffed MLAs, who have been vocal in public, will be taken after interim chief looks Sonia Gandhi into the report by the observers sent to the state.
"Status-quo to be maintained till Congress president election nominations. Decision on issuing of show cause notices to miffed MLAs, vocal in public, will be taken after interim chief takes action on report by observers," a source said.
The process for filing nominations for Congress presidential elections will end on September 30.
Maken, who is AICC incharge of Rajasthan, said the three ministers who met them at Gehlot's residence put forward three conditions.
He said they demanded that a decision on a CLP resolution should be after the declaration of Congress presidential poll results on October 19. Rejecting the condition, Maken said a resolution is not passed with conditions and also noted that any such move will be "a conflict of interest" for Gehlot.
He said the ministers also demanded that MLAs should meet the observers in groups and this was not acceptable. "We wanted to meet every MLA individually so that the decision is free and fair," Maken said.
He said the three ministers also said that a successor to Gehlot should be chosen from among 102 MLAs, who had stood by him during the crisis in 2020. The Gehlot government had faced political crisis in 2020 over demands led by Sachin Pilot and MLAs loyal to him.
Maken on Sunday met three members from the Gehlot camp - Shanti Dhariwal, C.P. Joshi and Pratap Khachriyawas who had put forward their proposals. (ANI)