With the floor test in Rajasthan over, the Congress central leadership on Sunday set in motion an exercise to find a long-lasting solution to the infighting in the state unit that recently put the Ashok Gehlot government in crisis.
The party removed Avinash Pande as AICC in-charge of the state and announced composition of a three-member panel to “address the issues raised by (Sachin) Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs”.
Senior party leader Ajay Maken will be the new general secretary in charge of Rajasthan. Pande’s removal was one of the conditions reportedly put forward by Pilot, who was removed as state Congress chief and Deputy Chief Minister amid the recent tussle.
The three-member committee formed to look into issues that led to the political crisis will have veteran party leader Ahmed Patel, AICC general secretary in charge of organisation K C Venugopal and Maken.
While Patel is former political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Venugopal is considered close to Rahul Gandhi. Both of them had worked behind the scenes to persuade Pilot to return to the party fold. Maken, on the other hand, and senior party leader Randeep Surjewala had stayed in Rajasthan as AICC observers for about a month as the party worked hard to resolve the political crisis.
Pande’s removal is seen as a logical next step to the truce talks held between Pilot and senior Congress leaders after which he had called off his rebellion.
Pilot had expressed his unhappiness with Pande’s style of functioning in his talks with the central leaders. He had accused Pande of favouring Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and acting with bias.
Sources in the high command said the plan to shift Pilot to Delhi and make him AICC general secretary of an important state may not happen immediately. “All that will happen after the committee holds deliberations with all sections of the party in Rajasthan. The next set of changes will be part of that,” a senior leader told The Indian Express. Those close to Gehlot, however, claimed that Pilot may be shifted to Delhi soon.
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