Congress Warns Ashok Gehlot’s Loyalists Over Public Statements

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met Sonia Gandhi in Delhi today.

New Delhi:
The Congress has issued warning to Ashok Gehlot loyalists in Rajasthan, already accused of indiscipline. Senior Central leader KC Venugopal said strong action will be taken for statements on the party’s “internal matters and against other leaders”.

Here’s your 10-Point cheatsheet in this big story:

  1. “It is advised that all Congress leaders at any level should refrain from making public statements against other leaders or about Party’s internal matters,” read the advisory from Mr Venugopal.

  2. “Strict disciplinary action will be initiated under the provisions of the Constitution of the Indian National Congress if any violation of this advisory is made,” the note added.

  3. The order came shortly after Team Gehlot held a press conference in Jaipur, where Dharmendra Rathore, the minister who received the party’s notice for ‘indiscipline’, accused Sachin Pilot loyalist Ved Prakash Solanki of being a “traitor”. He even produced a video that purportedly proves this.

  4. Ashok Gehlot met Sonia Gandhi today and apologised for the situation in Rajasthan, which has deeply upset the Gandhis. A front-runner in the party’s internal election for the top post till the rebellion by his loyalists, he also withdrew from the race, accepting “moral responsibility”.

  5. Mukul Wasnik, longtime Congressman and a staunch loyalist of the Gandhi family, is now emerging as an unlikely “official” candidate in the race for the party’s top post, sources have said.

  6. It is not yet known if Mr Gehlot will retain his post as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. His demand to retain the post was at the heart of the controversy. Congress’s senior Central leader KC Venugopal said Sonia Gandhi will take a decision on the matter “in a day or two”.

  7. Mr Gehlot has said that he has apologised to Mrs Gandhi for Sunday’s events. “A message went to the country that I wanted to remain as Chief Minister, and that is why (all that) happened. I have apologised to Sonia… I feel sorry,” he said.

  8.  More than 90 MLAs loyal to Mr Gehlot launched a rebellion on Sunday evening, skipping a Legislature Party meeting after reports that his arch-rival Sachin Pilot may succeed him in the top post.

  9. They also refused to comply with Mrs Gandhi’s instructions – one-on-one meetings with Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, central leaders tasked with resolving the situation. Key central leaders privately agree that the rebellion could not have been conducted without Mr Gehlot’s knowledge and approval.

  10. Mr Gehlot’s arch-rival Sachin Pilot, who came to Delhi earlier this week, is having a meeting with Sonia Gandhi. An aspirant for the top post, Mr Pilot was persuaded to accept the role of Mr Gehlot’s deputy by Rahul Gandhi after the 2018 assembly polls. The two have been in constant friction since.

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