The Congress government in Rajasthan plunged into another round of crisis after over 90 MLAs owing allegiance to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot threatened to resign sensing the central leadership’s intention to appoint a new face as the latter’s successor.
MLAs from Gehlot faction reached the residence of Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi to submit their resignations ahead of the planned legislature party meeting, which was called to decide on the name of the new chief minister.
In a 200-seat Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 108 MLAs. The party also enjoys the support of 13 independent MLAs. However, the Congress has had to deal with the displeasure of Sachin Pilot in the past. There are reports that Pilot, who had previously demanded to be made the new chief minister of Rajasthan, enjoys the support of over 20 MLAs.
Gehlot has never been in favour of relinquishing his post as the chief minister of Rajasthan. The need for his successor arose in light of Gehlot contesting the elections to become the president of the Congress party, replacing Sonia Gandhi.
However, people close to Gehlot say that he is keen to continue as the chief minister even after becoming the Congress president. In the event that he’s not allowed to keep two posts in the party, he may want to appoint one of his loyalists as his successor in a bid to keep Pilot out of contention.
Gehlot met senior Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday evening before also holding talks with Pilot and his group of MLAs. Later, he reportedly told the Congress leadership that nothing was in his hands, adding that the MLAs were angry. This is being seen as his blunt message to the Congress leadership, which appears to be keen to announce Pilot as his successor.