Jaipur: Tact, Fact, Act is the new mantra in Rajasthan politics. Amid Covid and Tauktae, chief minister Ashok Gehlot is dealing with the challenge to keep his party united. So far he has succeeded in his efforts. Recently a veteran Congress MLA resigned from assembly and an independent MLA who is a Gehlot loyalist tweeted ‘Logon Ko Sambhalen Ya Ghar Walon ko’. This is exactly what is happening with Gehlot in Rajasthan.
Apart from managing Covid, Gehlot's biggest challenge is to manage a dissident faction in the party. At the same time members of his cabinet are struggling and fighting with each other to establish their political supremacy. The present situation is no less than pandora's box for Gehlot, especially ahead of a proposed cabinet expansion in the coming days.
Ashok Gehlot is serving his third term as Chief Minister of Rajasthan and is known for his political acumen. But this term is surely the toughest one for him. He had faced a rebellion act of his deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and 19 MLAs in July last year.
Although the crisis was resolved dissidence still exist in the party and has surfaced time and again. It was seen during the assembly session this year when some Congress MLAs raised the issue of discrimination with Dalit MLAs in the house.
Hemaram Choudhary, Congress MLA, recently resigned and alleged Gehlot Cabinet for not treating legislators at par and of not being heard in administration. He is still to take back his resignation.
Another MLA from the same district came in support of Chaudhary while the other one Ved Solanki had openly raised issues relating to appointments of bureaucrats on some key posts where party workers were hoping to get a chance. Political appointments are an issue inviting irk of party workers for Gehlot. Sources in the party said that delay in political appointments can emerge as a big problem for Gehlot. It has been more than two years and party loyalist are waiting to get their dues.
The challenge to the authority of the party president
Problems don't seem to get over for Gehlot as of now. In a recent cabinet meeting, the heated arguments between state party chief Govind Singh Dotasara and UDH minister Shanti Dhariwal are making the headlines in Rajasthan. The clash reached to an extent that Dotasara as party chief issued a program but Dhariwal disobeyed his orders.
Although later on, Dhariwal came on the back foot and issued a statement saying 'Dotasra is my friend. And there are no issues between us." Dotasra also stated the same. There is also an issue of an ego clash between some of the ministers.
The big issue of cabinet expansion is waiting
Cabinet expansion is another issue where Gehlot will have to use his political acumen to appease party workers. There are 9 cabinet berths still vacant and to fill them will be a tough decision for Gehlot. Apart from his loyalists, Gehlot will have to accommodate Pilot loyalists. Pilot had stated in April that there is no reason now for the delay in action on the issues that were sorted out unanimously in the committee formed by the party high command and he has stated the almost same thing in a media interview today. The party president Dotasra did not comment on this and said to the media 'I am not authorized to comment on it as this is related to party high command.’
On the contrary, senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Katria is constantly saying ‘Gehlot’s cabinet expansion will topple the government which is running with so many self-contradictions’.