Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot’s allegation that the BJP was conspiring to topple his government has prompted BJP leaders to question Gehlot’s ability to lead the Congress in a united fashion. Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who was at the forefront in attacking Gehlot during the recent crisis in Rajasthan Congress, tweeted that Gehlot’s charges are linked to “internal conflicts and factionalism”. However, some BJP leaders admit privately that the party leadership is not really confident about cohesiveness of its own leaders in the state.
With Ahmed Patel, who used to coordinate the Congress’s engagements with other opposition parties, no more, it seems the Gandhis have decided to carry out the task themselves. At least two Opposition leaders said they are now engaging directly with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The Congress and many opposition parties had come out with a joint statement earlier, declaring their support for Tuesday’s Bharat bandh called by farmer groups. One leader said they initially did not know who to reach out to in the Congress, as the initial point of contact had always been Patel. But Rahul responded swiftly, and the joint statement was issued on Sunday.
Home Minister Amit Shah’s meeting with a select group of representatives from farmers’ unions was delayed due to some confusion over the venue among farmer leaders. It is learnt that the meeting was supposed to take place at Shah’s residence, but the venue was later shifted to NASC complex, Pusa. Some farm leaders couldn’t reach the venue. Ruldu Singh, a farmer leader from Punjab who was invited for the meeting, had to argue with security personnel at the ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) gate. Confused over the venue, he went back, only to return after about half-an-hour, escorted by the police to the right location.
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