Party has begun for Maha Cong as more MLAs troop into Pink City

Mallikarjun Kharge, Avinash Pande and Ashok Gehlot in lead supervisory role

Jaipur: A day after nearly two dozen Congress party MLAs from Maharashtra landed in Jaipur to avoid “horse trading,” around 20 more MLAs reached Jaipur and joined their counterparts at a resort on the outskirts of Jaipur, taking the total number of MLAs to nearly 40. It is believed that former Chief Ministers of Maharashtra – Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan – will land in Jaipur on Sunday, a day before when the BJP will have to show its numbers to the Governor, who has invited the saffron party being the single largest party. Moreover, Maharashtra Congress Chief Bala Saheb Thorat is also expected to land in Jaipur on Sunday.

Sources reveal that the leader of Congress legislator group will also be elected in Jaipur on Sunday itself when all 44 Congress MLAs will reach Jaipur, it is believed.

While the MLAs engrossed themselves in political talks over breakfast and lunch during the day, their “upkeep” was being looked after by the two soldiers of Pande-Gehlot team, ie Health Minister Raghu Sharma and Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi, RCA President and PCC General secretary Vaibhav Gehlot and Congress leader Dharmendra Rathore, as an indispensable AICC General Secretary Avinash Pande shuttled between Jaipur and Delhi as he took an early morning flight to Delhi to attend the important meeting of the Congress Working Committee held at 10 Janpath which was chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Meanwhile, during the day a few MLAs expressed their desire to explore the Pink city and thus they visited Amer and Jantar Mantar observatory and other places of historical importance. While the MLAs were busy in passing their time, another political script was being written as towards evening Avinash Pande returned to Jaipur from Delhi and was received at the airport by Health Minister Raghu Sharma. Over an hour after Pande’s arrival, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge also landed at Jaipur and was received at the airport by Mahesh Joshi and PCC Secretary Sunil Parwani. A few Maharashtra MLAs also accompanied by Pande and Kharge. Kharge has been accorded a stature of state guest and he would spend his night at Khasa Kothi hotel. Apart from Kharge, AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal is also expected to reach Jaipur on Sunday.

While several leaders from Maharashtra reached Jaipur, three MLAs including Nana Patole left for Delhi and it is believed that they will meet senior Congress party leaders and apprise them of the current status and situation. It is also reported that the trio will fly back to Jaipur on Sunday morning.

Towards the evening, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, also reached the resort and met the Congress leaders Pande and Kharge along with MLAs and spent nearly three hours with the MLAs. Kharge, Pande and Gehlot also held a private discussion after dinner. Sources reveal that the senior leaders held a discussion on strategy for Maharashtra and it was decided that all the MLAs will be housed in Jaipur till either the government is formed or any further development takes place.

Meanwhile, talking about the entire issue, MLA from Sakoli, Nana Patole, said, all four main parties should be given chance to form government in Maharashtra. If President’s rule was imposed, the Congress would have gone to the court. BJP has also kept its MLAs in hotel. The pro team speaker should have been appointed by now and the MLAs should have been sworn in however nothing has happened. The Governor is working under pressure from the Central government. Late in the night, Health Minister Raghu Sharma excused himself from the gathering after taking permission from CM Gehlot to head home to celebrate his wedding anniversary with wife Veera Sharma.

Our culture has been of “Padharo Mhare des” and we have welcomed them. What is happening in Maha is unfortunate. We have to sit in the opposition but the way the BJP formed govt in Manipur and K’taka, thus the MLAs have come here. Shiv Sena is their partner but even they had to shift their MLAs to a hotel so you can understand the situation. Why should there be horse trading and why should anyone by pressurised. –Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister