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Amid turmoil, Venugopal to visit Rajasthan for Yatra preparations on Nov 29

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New Delhi, Nov 25: Amid a turmoil in Rajasthan Congress after chief minister Ashok Gehlot's "gaddar" (traitor) remark at his former deputy Sachin Pilot, AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal has decided to visit to the desert state from November 29.

AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal

Sources said Venugopal will be reviewing the arrangements for the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan which enters the state in the first week of December, but insiders say he will have to ensure that the bickering in the state unit does not come to the fore during the yatra.

Gehlot and Pilot are at loggerheads over the leadership position, with Pilot seeking to replace him and the chief minister saying that there is no indication of a change in leadership in Rajasthan.

Venugopal will have to play a key role in cooling the tempers of legislators and party leaders in Rajasthan who are a divided lot, with one section owing allegiance to the chief minister and the other putting its weight behind Pilot.

AICC general secretary in-charge for Rajasthan Ajay Maken has already tendered his resignation in the wake of the development on September 25, when the party could not hold a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), but has been asked to continue.

Maken is unlikely to visit Rajasthan during the yatra as he has made his intentions public by asserting that he is not keen on continuing in his position, after the party failed to take action against three key MLAs including ministers Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi, besides RTDC chief Dharmendra Rathore. Joshi is also the chief whip of the Congress in Vidhan Sabha.

Dissensions appeared in the Rajasthan Congress after Gehlot called Pilot a traitor. The party has said the comment was "unexpected" and asserted that the crisis will be resolved by the leadership.

Gehlot on Thursday said Sachin Pilot is a "gaddar" and that he cannot replace him, drawing a sharp response from his former deputy who said such "mud-slinging" would not help, in an escalation of their rift just days ahead of the entry of Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' into the state.

Gehlot also told NDTV that Pilot had revolted against the Congress in 2020 and alleged that he tried to topple the state government.

The crisis in Rajasthan Congress comes ahead of assembly elections in the state next year, where the Congress is seeking to buck anti-incumbency and repeat its government.

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