July 30, 2021 5:07:50 am
For the second consecutive day, Ajay Maken, the AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan, individually met party MLAs to take feedback on issues such as Cabinet expansion, the constitution of district Congress committees and political appointments.
Sources in the Congress said that in the course of Wednesday and Thursday, several of the MLAs who met Maken didn’t mince words complaining about ministers and party office-bearers.
On Thursday evening, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held an informal dinner for MLAs at his residence. While legislators loyal to him were present, former deputy CM Sachin Pilot, who is in Delhi, skipped the dinner.
“I told Ajay Maken ji that minister Shanti Dhariwal might be a good minister but when it comes to his performance as the in-charge minister for Jaipur district, he has performed poorly,” said a Congress MLA on condition of anonymity.
After the first day’s meeting with Maken, Congress MLA from Chaksu Ved Prakash Solanki had said that the communication exercise should also include those Congress candidates who had contested the last Assembly elections but lost.
Health Minister Raghu Sharma, who met Maken Thursday, said there was no truth to media reports that MLAs had complained about ministers. “The system of feedback is not new and has been there for a long time in the Congress. But what you see or read in newspapers is not the truth,” Sharma told reporters.
MLAs known to be loyal to Pilot emphasised the need to include youth and give proper representation to “those who helped the Congress form the government in the state”.
Cabinet expansion and political appointments to accommodate his men have been among the long-standing demands of Pilot, who had mounted a revolt against Gehlot last year.
“Those people or sections who gave their blood and sweat to form the government, they should get representation. We conveyed our stand on those ministers against whom we had complaints,” said Congress MLA Ramniwas Gawriya, a supporter of Pilot. “If those who formed the government after working hard, if they don’t have a stake, then in the future the Congress and all of us would have to pay the price,” he added.
Another Pilot supporter, MLA Mukesh Bhakar, said youth should get importance within the Congress as this would make the party stronger. Bhakar said it was up to the Congress to decide how to utilise the considerable support base of Pilot.
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