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Rajasthan Congress crisis: Ajay Maken attacks Gehlot camp for putting conditions, says it’s ‘conflict of interest, wrong’

On Congress MLAs holding a meeting at Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence and skipping the CLP one, Maken said, “prima facie, this is indiscipline indeed”.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with senior Congress leader Ajay Maken (Express Photo by Rohit Jain Paras)

Congress Rajasthan in-charge Ajay Maken Monday attacked the Ashok Gehlot camp for pushing for a conditional resolution, terming it as a conflict of interest, and saying that the act of calling a parallel meeting while a CLP meeting was already planned is “prima facie indiscipline.”

‘Angry’ with the Congress high command’s ‘unilateral’ decision to hand over the chief ministership to Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan without consulting them, as many as 90 MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot submitted their resignation to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi late Sunday.

Talking to reporters in Jaipur, Maken said when representatives of the Gehlot camp—ministers Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi, and Pratap Singh Khachariyawas—met him and the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge Sunday night, they had a few conditions.

Among those conditions was a demand that the resolution to leave the decision to the Congress president can “certainly be passed but the decision should be taken after October 19.” “So, we said that if Ashok Gehlot ji moves a resolution that everything is being left to the Congress president…and when he becomes the Congress president after October 19, then he is empowering himself on his own resolution – there can’t be a bigger conflict of interest than this, so (we asked them) you don’t do this,” said Maken.

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“But they said you will have to publicly say this and make it a part of the resolution, that the resolution is being passed today but it will be implemented after October 19,” he added.

“Resolution is only one line…and it shouldn’t be with conflict of interest that you are moving a resolution today, contesting the elections, and when tomorrow if you become the Congress president you will take a decision on your own resolution. This is a conflict of interest and this is wrong,” he also said.

According to Maken, the second condition was the issue of talking with the MLAs over the issue. “When we said that we will talk individually with everyone, they said that they will come in groups. We said it has been the Congress tradition that we talk with everyone individually so that the MLAs can say what they want to say, freely, frankly and without any pressure. But they insisted that they will meet in groups and you will have to say this publicly too,” he said.

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“Third, they said that only one among the 102 MLAs who were loyal and were with Ashok Gehlot should be made the CM. Sachin Pilot or anyone from his group should not be made the CM. We said that when we meet everyone individually, we’ll convey all your emotions exactly to the Congress president. And she will talk to Ashok Gehlot before taking the final decision. But they kept insisting that all these three points should be a part of the resolution,” he said.

“We said that in the Congress history, a resolution has never been with strings or conditions attached…Hence Kharge and I turned them down, saying that this is a conflict of interest. We will meet everyone individually and convey everyone’s emotions to the Congress president,” he said.

On Congress MLAs holding a meeting at Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence and skipping the CLP one, Maken said, “prima facie, this is indiscipline indeed”. “When an official meeting has been called and someone calls a parallel unofficial meeting, then it is prima facie indiscipline. We will see what action can be taken.”

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“We don’t know how many MLAs have submitted their resignations or not,” he said, adding that he and Kharge are headed to Delhi where they will brief the Congress president and give a report to her.

First published on: 26-09-2022 at 12:22:13 pm
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