Jaipur: Hectic lobbying is on ahead of political appointments and a cabinet expansion in Rajasthan with leaders making a beeline for Delhi to meet state incharge Ajay Maken.
In the past one week, around 30 leaders from Rajasthan including former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra, ministers, MLAs and MLA candidates who lost the elections have met Maken in Delhi.
Sources said Pilot had two meetings with Maken on Monday and Tuesday, and held discussions on political appointments and on the cabinet rejig.
Pilot is understood to have forwarded new names from his camp for cabinet appointments. When Congress came to power in 2018, six MLAs were made ministers from Pilot’s quota. These were Bhanwarlal Meena, Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, Udailal Anjana and Pramod Jain. However, Bhanwarlal Meena has passed away while Anjana, Khachariyawas and Jain shifted loyalties to Gehlot.
Now, Pilot has said that if the CM wants to retain Anjana, Khachariyawas and Jain, he should do so from his own quota. Pilot has forwarded names of those who sided with him during the political crisis, viz, Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena, Murari Lal Meena, Ved Prakash Solanki, Ramniwas Gawadiya and Mukesh Dhakad.
Cabinet minister Harish Choudhary, who is considered close to chief minister Ashok Gehlot also had a lengthy meeting with Maken and discussed the appointments as well as the political scenario in western Rajasthan.
Maken is scheduled to visit Rajasthan on December 25 and will hold consultations with leaders and party functionaries from various districts to assess the mood in the party ahead of a cabinet rejig that is expected early next year.
Maken has already held separate meetings with Gehlot and Pilot, and will have to do a fine balancing act to ensure a fair representation to the both camps in all the appointments.
After talks with Maken, Dotasara said a small number of organisational appointments would be made by December-end while a more comprehensive round of appointments will be made in January. On the cabinet reshuffle, he said that is the prerogative of the chief minister and is expected early next year.
Meanwhile, a poster published in a local daily has created a buzz in political circles and highlighted the continuing rift in the Congress.
The Congress won a thumping victory in the recently concluded civic body elections. In the aftermath of the win, Mamta Choudhary who was elected as chairperson of the Dausa municipal council published a poster in a local daily.
The full-page poster had a large photo of Sachin Pilot and a smaller one of Dausa MLA Murari Lal Meena, who is a close aide of Pilot. The message read ‘hearty congratulations on Congress forming the board in the Dausa municipal council after a long time.’
On top of the poster, there were small images of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former president Rahul Gandhi, Gehlot, Ajay Maken and Dotasara. Notably, Pilot is no longer deputy chief minister or state Congress president.
Congress performed well in the local body elections in eastern Rajasthan, from Bharatpur, Dausa, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur to Bundi and Kota. This belt is dominated by Gurjar and Meena communities. While the Meenas have been traditional Congress supporters, the Gurjars rallied behind the Congress mainly due to Pilot’s presence.
Another similar advertisement was published in a local daily. The ad was given by councillors of the Chaksu municipal council and while congratulating the Congress on its victory, it gave prominence to Pilot and Chaksu MLA Ved Prakash Solank, another Pilot loyalist.
There were smaller photos of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former party president Rahul Gandhi, state incharge Ajay Maken, CM Ashok Gehlot and state Congress chief Govind Dotasara.