Face-off between Sachin Pilot and CM Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan. (Image: twitter- @SachinPilot/ @ashokgehlot51)
The Rajasthan Congress top leadership has come yet again on a verge of face-off, after senior party leader Sachin Pilot flagged an inordinate delay by the party's national leadership in taking action against those who defied then president Sonia Gandhi by not letting a legislature party meeting take place. Pilot stated that the decision on the party’s affairs in Rajasthan must be taken soon if the trend of alternate governments has to be bucked.
Pilot questioned the All India Congress Committee (AICC) disciplinary committee under senior leader AK Antony and National President Mallikarjun Kharge, referring to the show cause notices issued more than four months ago to three loyalists of Chief Minister (CM) Ashok Gehlot for holding a gathering parallel to the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting. He said the AICC disciplinary committee and the national leadership can best answer as to why there has been an unprecedented delay in a decision on the matter.
Talking to news agency PTI, the former Rajasthan deputy Chief Minister said, “The legislative party meeting was called on September 25th, by the CM in Jaipur, which eventually did not take place. The central observers Ajay Maken and Kharge were there. Whatever would have happened in the meeting is a separate issue, agreement or disagreement, but the meeting was not allowed to take place.”
"The people who were responsible for not having that meeting and having a parallel gathering, were served notices of prima facie indiscipline," Pilot said, adding that he was told through the media that the people, who were served with notices have replied, but so far, there has been no decision or action taken by the AICC.
He further added that, "It may be pointed out that an affidavit was filed in the Rajasthan High Court by the speaker which said that there were 81 resignations received with few given to him personally. Moreover, according to the affidavit filed in the high court, out of the total resignations some of them were photocopies and the rest were not accepted because they were not given out of their free will and that was the reason on the basis of which the speaker rejected these resignations.."
Underlining the importance of making firm decisions about the Congress leadership in Rajasthan in wake of upcoming assembly elections in the state during the year end, Pilot said, “We are heading towards an election very soon. The state budget has also been presented, and the party leadership has said many times that it would take a decision on how to move forward. So, whatever decisions have to be taken about the party in the state, if the Congress has to break the cycle of alternate governments in the state, which has been happening for the last 25 years, as we are looking at polls."
“It was under the direction of the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi that the CLP meeting was called so this was open defiance and non-compliance of the party directive,” he said, adding that discipline and the party line are the same for everybody whoever it may be. Discipline is paramount and that is what AICC in-charge for the state Sukhjinder Randhawa had been asserting.
Earlier, the party had issued show cause notices to MLAs Dharmendra Rathore, Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi, but the party has not taken any action on the notices though the MLAs have responded to the charges against them.
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