After a wait of almost six months, the Congress has announced a 39-member executive for Rajasthan, accommodating loyalists from camps of both chief minister Ashok Gehlot and ex-deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.
Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal announced the list late on Wednesday. The party appointed seven vice presidents, eight general secretaries and 24 secretaries.
The new executive has tried to strike a balance between loyalists of Gehlot and Pilot as well as a senior leader and assembly speaker Dr CP Joshi. Among the new appointees, 18 are considered close to Gehlot while 11 are seen as close to Pilot.
The appointments came 175 days after Govind Singh Dotasara was appointed as the state Congress president on July 14, 2020, after Pilot had rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership. The month-long rebellion had almost brought down the Congress government before the central leadership intervened and brokered a truce.
Pilot who was the state president then was removed from the post and a day later the Congress had dissolved the state executive unit and the party’s district and block committees as well as all departments and cells of the state unit.
Dotasara expressed happiness at the appointments and said he hoped the new team would work together to strengthen the Congress in the state so that the party would return to power in the next elections. He also said this is only a small first list and more appointments will be made in the next few weeks.
Gehlot and Pilot too congratulated the new appointees and Gehlot said he hoped that the new appointees would take the party’s programmes, policies, principles to villages.
There were exhaustive deliberations over the past few months between leaders in Delhi and Rajasthan for the appointment of the state executive. State in-charge Ajay Maken held talks with Gehlot, Pilot, Dotasara and other leaders to try and arrive at a consensus.
Maken and Dotasara had stated that the executive would be appointed by the end of December 2020 but it was delayed further as deliberations continued with Dotasara making several trips to Delhi to meet Maken and Venugopal.
The new executive has Govind Ram Meghwal, Harimohan Sharma, Dr Jitendra Singh, Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya, Naseem Akhtar Insaf, Rajendra Chaudhary and Ramlal Jat as vice presidents. Chaudhary is considered a Pilot loyalist.
GR Khatana, Hakim Ali, Prashant Bairwa, Rakesh Pareek, Mangilal Garasiya, Lakhan Meena, Rita Chaudhary and Ved Solanki have been made general secretaries. Among these, Khatana, Solanki and Parikh are seen as being close to Pilot.
The appointments have also tried to balance caste equations with six Jats, five Brahmins, four Gurjars and three Muslims among the new members. Five women have found a place in the 39 appointees.
With the declaration of the state executive, the path to the long-awaited political appointments too has been cleared. Party insiders say that those persons who have found a place in the executive will not be considered for political appointments and in the expected cabinet reshuffle.