Rajasthan: Talk of political appointments in Congress heats up again with Maken’s Jaipur visit

Jaipur: Congress' Rajasthan incharge Ajay Maken will arrive in Jaipur on Tuesday, giving rise to the possibility of some political appointments ahead of the budget session of the state assembly that gets underway from February 10.

Maken will arrive in Jaipur on Tuesday evening and will hold consultations with chief minister Ashok Gehlot, state Congress president Govind Singh Dotasara and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Wednesday.

Party sources say a list of 10-12 political appointments has been prepared which could be announced after talks with all the leaders. There is also speculation that a cabinet expansion could be in the offing.

The political appointments and cabinet expansion have been hanging fire since a long time with the party putting them off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and local elections. Congress MLAs, six BSP MLAs who joined Congress and independents are all eyeing a share in power and are getting restless as the wait gets longer.

Party sources say that chief minister Ashok Gehlot is not in favour of a cabinet expansion and wants to put it off till June while former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot is pushing for appointments at the earliest.

Pilot, who rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership last year, is seeking a fair share for his supporters in the appointments to be made. Sources say the party high command wants to end the stand-off and Maken is being sent to Rajasthan to try and convince the chief minister to go in for political appointments and a small cabinet expansion.

Maken had announced in December last year that political appointments would be made in the state by January 31. But with the deadline having passed and restlessness among party MLAs growing,

Party leaders say that the Gehlot camp fears that dissension will come to the fore after the cabinet expansion. There is a long list of MLAs from the Gehlot and Pilot camps as well as BSP MLAs who joined Congress and the independents, all of whom seeking a berth. Since it is not possible to accommodate everyone, party leaders fear there could be discord which could threaten the state government.

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