While the impression being given by the Congress party is that it is sending Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and state in-charge Ajay Maken for “raishumari” or taking the opinion of MLAs before deciding the name of the next Chief Minister of the state, many party MLAs believe the name has already been decided by the party high command and they just have to nod in agreement.
On Sunday evening, a crucial Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting is scheduled at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence to decide his successor as he is set to become the next Congress president.
A few MLAs The Indian Express spoke to, admitted that the name is decided by the high command and that they will respect it as Congress workers. Sadulpur (Churu) MLA Krishna Poonia, said: “I am a Congress worker, whatever the high command decides and whoever becomes our leader, that’s fine. But it will be decided from there.”
Ameen Khan, the MLA from Sheo in Barmer, too said, “the name is decided from Delhi”.
Girraj Singh Malinga, the MLA from Bari in Dholpur, said, only half-jokingly, “It is the high command which will decide who becomes the CM. If the CM was decided on my say, I would have said that make me the CM.”
Some others, such as the Congress MLA from Kishanpole in Jaipur, Aminuddin Kagzi, are in wait and watch mode and, like others, hesitated to reveal their preferences ahead of Sunday’s meeting. “We will wait and see what happens. We don’t have any prejudice against anyone,” Kagzi said.
Amid the political churn, suspicions also ran high. Asked whom he would like to see as the next CM, Minister of State for Tribal Area Development Arjun Singh Bamniya said: “Why should I tell you? It is a wrong question.”
Over the past few days, quite a few MLAs have openly indicated their preferences or loyalties between Gehlot and his bitter rival Sachin Pilot.
The MLA from Nagar in Bharatpur, Wajib Ali, said: “Things have already been decided and sorted. My understanding is that the popular name (post Gehlot) is only one: Sachin Pilot. And it is due to him that things are happening quickly.”