Ajay Maken, who was appointed as the AICC general secretary of Rajasthan, has taken over his charge in New Delhi. Ajay Maken has expressed hope that the crisis in the state will be resolved within the next 2-3 months.
Maken was greeted by Sachin Pilot at the AICC office in Delhi when he took over the charge. A three-member committee, headed by Ahmed Patel has been also formed by Sonia Gandhi to hear the grievances of the dissidents. The committee also includes Ajay Maken.
The three-member committee will first meet and work out the modalities. It will decide whether it should meet in Jaipur or in Delhi. The committee will also have to decide whether it would hear only the dissidents or other MLAs as well.
Through the interventions of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, an understanding was reached between Gehlot and dissidents. But, the conditions under which Pilot agreed for the truce is not known.
Loyalists to also look for positions
It is learned that a few MLAs who sided with Gehlot during the crisis are also keen to meet the committee. They want to give their part of the story and would demand positions in the Cabinet.
Ashok Gehlot is also sympathetic to them because of their support during the political crisis. But hearing these MLAs, who are not among the dissidents, is an issue that will have to be decided by the high command.
The AICC order issued immediately after the truce said the committee will hear Sachin Pilot and the dissidents only.
124 legislators supporting govt
In all, there are 124 MLAs that are backing the Gehlot government and it includes the six BSP MLAs who merged with the Congress. The supporters also include 16 Independents, two Bharatiya Tribal Party, one RLD and one CPM MLA.
Currently, there are 22 cabinet and ministers of state. Only 15 per cent of the total strength of 200 MLAs can become ministers. Thus, at the most, 30 ministers can be accommodated in the Cabinet. There is no limit to the appointments of parliamentary secretaries.
It is learned that Pilot has demanded that the two sacked dissidents—Cabinet ministers Ramesh Meena and Vishvendra Singh should be taken back. Apart from them, Pilot demanded that among the dissidents four cabinet and two ministers of state berths should be given to the dissidents. Pilot has not demanded anything for himself.
Pilot is hell-bent on these appointments and will also speak about it before the committee.
Tight rope walk for CM
Ashok Gehlot is facing difficulties in accommodating the dissidents as he will also have to satisfy the loyalists.
Till the Ahmed Patel-led committee gives its report, no reshuffle or expansion of the Cabinet will take place. Gehlot will also insist that the committee work leisurely to allow him some time to put his house in order.
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