At least 92 MLAs loyal to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot arrived at Speaker C P Joshi’s residence late Sunday evening to submit their resignation, plunging the Congress government into crisis as it prepares for a change of guard at the top, both in Rajasthan and Delhi.
The MLAs are reportedly miffed that they weren’t consulted over Gehlot’s expected move to step down as chief minister in order to contest in the upcoming Congress president election. Cabinet Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas told The Indian Express the number of MLAs are expected to rise up to 100.
Earlier today, 71-year-old Gehlot hinted for the first time that he might step down as chief minister.
Gehlot met MP Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader Ajay Maken at the hotel where they are staying, ahead of the Congress Legislature Party meet in Jaipur.
Under the leadership of Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Kharge and Maken are expected to ask MLAs to pass a one line resolution. Earlier today, Gehlot had said, “It has been our tradition that whenever the CLP meets during elections or for the selection of chief minister, a one-line proposal is passed that we are giving the right (to make the decision) to the Congress president. I believe this will happen today, too.”
However, Gehlot loyalists are opposing this move.
Independent MLA and Gehlot advisor Sanyam Lodha said, “If the decision is as per the wishes of the MLAs, then the government will run. But if it is not as per the wishes of the MLAs, then can the government function?…Obviously there will be a threat of the government falling.”
Asked about the likelihood of Sachin Pilot as the next Rajasthan CM, cabinet minister Govind Ram Meghwal echoed the sentiment among Gehlot MLAs: “This is a sensitive issue. There is resentment among the MLAs. There were independents who helped us during the political crisis… Hence, we will all sit down and discuss (at Dhariwal’s residence),” he said, referring to the 2020 rebellion by Sachin Pilot.
Meghwal said that Gehlot can handle both responsibilities, of party president and the CM.