Trouble brews in Rajasthan Congress, 2 ministers seek ‘accountability’ for poll mess
Jaipur, May 28: Two ministers in the Rajasthan cabinet have come out in support of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and spoken against state chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who faced flak for putting the interests of party behind in order to promote his son.
According to some of the leaders, who attended Saturday's Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, Gandhi did a lot of "plain-speaking" in his surgical analysis of the role of several party leaders while himself offering to quit as the party president.
Ticking-off Gehlot for camping in Jodhpur for his son Vaibhav's election, Gandhi said the chief minister spent days campaigning extensively for his son in Jodhpur and neglected the rest of the state.
Gehlot had reportedly taken part in over 130 rallies and road shows, 93 of them in Jodhpur alone. His son, however, lost to the BJP, which took 24 of the 25 seats in the state, with one seat going to its ally.
After Gandhi's severe criticism, several ministers in the state have come out in the open, demanding fixing of accountability and action over the electoral drubbing just months after the party formed the government in the state.
Rajasthan Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said the CWC has given Gandhi full authority to fix the accountability and he will exercise that power.
Asked about Gandhi hauling up senior leaders for putting their sons over party, he said: "Rahul Gandhi ji has full right to say what he has to in the CWC. Nobody is above him and he would have said it after giving it full thought. All workers and leaders of the Congress respect his word. I also learnt from the media about it (Rahul's remarks)."
"If Rahul Gandhi ji finds fault with senior leaders, it is his right -- to fix accountability and take corrective steps," Khachariyawas said.
Echoing Khachariyawas' views, his cabinet colleague, Bhanwarlal Meghwal, also demanded that accountability be immediately fixed for the defeat.
"Whatever Rahul Gandhi said is right...Action should be taken against those people who are responsible for this defeat so that a message goes to the workers. The Congress workers are also very angry," he said.
Meanwhile, Gehlot was in Delhi and met Congress general secretary in-charge K C Venugopal on Monday. However, what transpired in the meeting was not known.
Two state ministers have also come out in the open to demand a detailed assessment by the top leadership.
Cooperative Minister Udai Lal Anjana, and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Meena have said the party should review the reasons for the defeat so that the party bounces back and performs well in upcoming local body elections in the state.
Meanwhile, there were reports that Agriculture Minister Lalchand Kataria has resigned after party's poor showing in the polls. However, there was no conformation.
K C Vishnoi, DCC president Hanumagarh, lashed out at Gehlot for the poll debacle.
"The organisation worked really hard and brought the party to power. But within three months the people got upset with the government, the chief minister should take responsibility. He should have offered to resign," he said.
The Congress, which came to power in December 2018, lost all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the State.