Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gallot, who met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, spoke at length about discipline within the party and denied it was falling short of requirements at any point. He insisted the media were reporting “little potatoes” and declared that “these things are happening”.
Three of Mr Gallott’s close aides have been responsible for a massive insurgency within the party in Rajasthan. The party’s central observer Malikajon Harg and state chief Ajay Makan have recommended action against them, the incident unfolded on Sunday.
Mr Macken accused the rebels’ focus on being “undisciplined”. Action has been recommended against chief whip Mahesh Joshi, RTDC chairman Dharmendra Pathak and minister Shanti Dhariwal, who chaired a parallel meeting of the MLA, who passed a resolution on the next chief minister aimed at blocking Mr Gehlot’s arch-rival Sachin Pilot.
“Congress has always been disciplined,” Mr Gallott told reporters, insisting it was the party’s “tradition” even today. “I’ve been watching it for 50 years. From the days of Indira Gandhi, then Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and now Sonia Gandhi,” he added.
5, 50 सटीहैहैहैहैहैहूँहूँहूँहूँ, सटीहैहैहैहैहैहूँहूँहूँहूँ सटीहैहैहैहैहैहूँहूँहूँहूँ pic.twitter.com/MrayXZDNyM
— Ashok Glot (@ashokgehlot51) September 28, 2022
“The media has been doing little potatoes and these things are happening in internal politics. They are’ghar ki baat’. The country is at risk. Writer, journalist jailed for treason. We are all worried about inflation and authoritarianism, that’s why Rahul Gandhi is on yatra,” Mr Gallot told reporters.
The political storm in Rajasthan has engulfed the party’s internal elections, leading Mr Gallot to refuse to resign from the top Rajasthan job over fears it could fall into Mr Pilot’s hands. Until Sunday’s rebellion, he had been the front-runner in the race for the party leadership, with elections due next month.
Mr. Gehlot made it clear that he was ready to juggle both roles. But that possibility was rejected by Rahul Gandhi, who made it clear that the party would stick to its “one man, one post” policy. Mr Gallot took a step back on Sunday and went to a temple near the state’s border with Pakistan – a remote area without mobile phone connectivity.
In the evening, 92 MLAs loyal to him skipped a scheduled party meeting of the legislature, when Mr Gehlot’s replacement was to be picked. In a parallel meeting, they announced that a chief minister should be chosen from among those who supported the government during Mr Pilot’s rebellion in 2020. They then went to the Speaker’s house and threatened to resign en masse if their demands were not met.
The next day, they blatantly defied Sonia Gandhi, refused to meet one-on-one with her central leader in charge of resolving the situation, and made a series of demands.
Arriving in Jaipur after the rebellion went well, Mr Gallot said he was not involved – a claim the central leadership of Congress is skeptical. Gandhi was said to be very unhappy with the public “humiliation” of the party, for which many privately held Mr Gallot to be responsible.
His visit to Delhi and scheduled discussions with Mrs Gandhi came after the central leadership, including Ambika Soni and Anand Sharma, began talks with him to resolve the crisis. It is unclear whether Mr Gallot will run for the party chairmanship.