Jaipur: High drama unfolded in Rajasthan Sunday evening as a group of Congress MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot headed to the assembly speaker’s residence to submit their resignation ahead of a legislature party meeting which was likely to pick his successor.
The development suggested a worsening power struggle between the chief minister and Sachin Pilot who was tipped to be Gehlot’s replacement after he declared his candidature for the Congress president’s post.
Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, along with Gehlot, reached the chief minister’s residence where the Congress Legislature Party meeting was to be held. The pilot reached there separately. About 25 legislators were present there, sources said.
However, a large group of MLAs loyal to the chief minister who held a meeting at Minister Shanti Dhariwal’s residence decided to go to Speaker C P Joshi’s residence to submit their resignation.
“We are going to the speaker’s residence in a bus and will submit our resignation,” state minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas told reporters. Sources claimed there were around 80 MLAs, including Independents, in the group.
Some of its MLAs said Gehlot’s successor should be someone who was instrumental in saving the government during the political crisis in 2020 and not someone who was involved in the bid to topple it, a veiled reference to Pilot.
Another leader, Govind Ram Meghwal, said Gehlot can shoulder both roles, that of the chief minister as well as the party’s national president.