The two Congress party observers for Rajasthan- Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken- will arrive in Delhi on Monday to submit their report to the top leadership on the political crisis, which has engulfed the state following mass resignations by party MLAs.
With miffed party MLAs unwilling to meet with the observers, sources said that the next step will be decided by observers of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) after a discussion with the party's high command.
A legislative party meeting was scheduled on Sunday evening at the residence of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the presence of the observers, which was attended by the Sachin Pilot and his camp MLAs, however, the Gehlot loyalists had held a meeting with Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal at his residence, following which over 90 MLAs had submitted their resignations to Speaker CP Joshi.
Pilot, is being seen as the successor of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who is all set to contest the Congress president election scheduled on October 17. The Rajasthan deputy chief minister late last night conducted a second round of meeting with the AICC observers.
According to the sources close to Gehlot, "What the MLAs did was not right. The legislators should have come to the legislature party meeting in front of the observers sent by Sonia Gandhi. Gehlot also wanted that all the MLAs should come in front of the observers in the legislature party."
The sources further said that the party leadership wanted the MLAs to express their opinion in the meeting and the final decision to be left for Sonia Gandhi to make.
"This has been the tradition of Congress which has been followed in Rajasthan Congress, but despite all the efforts of Gehlot, the MLAs felt that the decision was going to be in favour of Sachin Pilot, their anger erupted because they did not want to give the reins of the government at any cost to the person who betrayed the BJP and tried to bring down the Congress government at the same time," said the sources.
The Gehlot loyalists want someone from their own camp to be chosen as the next Chief Minister, instead of Pilot, who according to them, had revolted against his own party back in 2020.
"Among the 102 MLAs who stood firmly with Sonia Gandhi, someone should be elected CM. Shanti Dhariwal and senior MLAs like Pratap Khachariawas and Mahesh Joshi put this thing loudly in front of the observers, the observers assured them that they had come only to take opinion and after taking everyone's opinion, Congress President Sonia Gandhi will take the decision," the sources said.
The decision on the next legislature party meeting is due to be taken with Navratri kickstarting from today.
"The meeting of the entire legislature party with observers could not be held in Rajasthan. Navratri is starting today, so the MLAs should have their own reasons. When will the meeting of the legislature party take place, what will happen next, nothing is being decided yet," it added.
Gehlot's close associates informed that the Chief Minister has expressed regret to the observers for what happened yesterday, however, he has assured to look into the reason behind the incident.
"The MLAs were so miffed they were not even listening to me. They are all loyal to Sonia and Congress," the sources quoted Gehlot as saying.
Claiming that the principle of 'One man, one post' does not apply to the Chief Minister as yet, the MLAs of the Gehlot camp have put forward their demand to maintain the status quo till the time he is not elected the party president.
Gehlot's close aide further said that the situation at the moment is unusual, the situation of confusion has arisen.
"The MLAs have given the resignation to the speaker, that too is a subject. Nothing is decided yet. When the meeting of the legislative party will take place, cannot be said yet, the next strategy can be decided by the observer after talking to the high command," the sources said.
Amid the political crisis, Pilot has, however, maintained silence and has not given any public statement. He had also attended the meeting of CLP on Sunday.
Gehlot will file his nomination on September 28, while his competitor in the election, Shashi Tharoor will file on September 30.
Earlier, State Minister Mahesh Joshi said that they want the party to take care of people who have been loyal to Congress. He further said that every MLA believes that interim president Sonia Gandhi will consider their demands.
"Every MLA has faith in interim president Sonia Gandhi. We have kept our point and expect that our demands will be considered when the final decision is taken by the high command. We want the party to take care of people who've been loyal to Congress," said Joshi.
On Sunday, Sonia Gandhi had directed observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken to conduct one-on-one talks with Rajasthan MLAs to resolve the issue. (ANI)