Congress Issues Notices to Leaders Over Rajasthan Govt Crisis: Who Are They?

They have been asked to submit responses explaining why they had organised a meeting parallel to the CLP on Sunday.

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Edited By :Karan Mahadik

Against the backdrop of the Rajasthan government crisis, the Congress on Tuesday, 27 September, issued show-cause notices to three close aides of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, accusing them of "grave indiscipline."

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, state chief whip Mahesh Joshi, and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) chief Dharmendra Rathore were implicated in a report prepared by the Congress’ observers in Rajasthan, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken.

Consequently, they have been asked to submit responses within 10 days, explaining why they had organised a meeting parallel to the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Sunday and why they shouldn't face disciplinary action.

Here's what the three MLAs have said and what they have been accused of:


Shanti Dhariwal

Dhariwal, a 78-year-old MLA from Kota North, has been the chief minister's right-hand man, charged with keeping the flock together in the three governments that Gehlot has formed in Rajasthan.

In the current state government, he holds the portfolios of Urban Development and Housing, Parliamentary Affairs, Local Self Government, Law and Legal Affairs, Legal Consultancy Office, and Elections.

The party’s notice to Dhariwal accused him of committing “grave indiscipline by hosting a parallel MLAs meeting at your residence pressuring them not to attend the official meeting." It said that the parliamentary affairs minister hosting an unofficial meeting confused the Congress MLAs.

Dhariwal had earlier alleged that there was a “deep conspiracy” to remove Gehlot as the CM and had accused Maken of promoting Gehlot’s rival Sachin Pilot in the state, NDTV reported.

“Anyone in the high command, tell me this, which two posts are with Ashok Gehlot today that you are asking for his resignation? He has only one post, that of the CM. When he gets the other post, then the talk arises," he had said in Sunday's meeting, according to The Indian Express.

"This entire conspiracy cost Punjab and now Rajasthan will also be lost. If we are on alert, Rajasthan will be saved, otherwise Rajasthan will also slip from our hand,” he had added.


Mahesh Joshi

Joshi is the Congress' chief whip in Rajasthan. On 26 September, he had said that the high command can make anyone the state's chief minister but it should not be someone who revolted against the party, alluding to Sachin Pilot.

Congress' notice to Joshi said, “You as chief whip have conducted grave indiscipline on two counts. (a) Boycotting the official CLP meeting even after you had informed (given notice) to every Congress MLA to attend it and (b) by participating and convening a parallel meeting of the MLAs at the time when officially appointed observers were waiting for the official meeting to start.”

Joshi, however, claimed he has done nothing wrong. “We have not created any pressure on the high command but only expressed our views. Whatever decision the leadership takes, we will obey it,” he said.

He denied the claim that some MLAs were pressured to sign the resignation letter and asserted that Ashok Gehlot had nothing to do with the meeting.

“What happened day before, Ashok Gehlot-ji didn’t have anything to do with it. He did not talk about anything with us, be it about the Congress president poll or the CM post. We complained to him before the observers, too,” he told reporters.

"Every MLA has faith in Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. We've kept our point and expect our demands to be considered when the high command takes the final decision. However, we want the party to take care of people who've been loyal to Congress," he said.


Dharmendra Rathore

Dharmendra Rathore, a Gehlot loyalist, is the chief of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC). He was accused of making logistical arrangements for the meeting of MLAs at Dhariwal's house, according to the report.

Over 90 MLAs had tendered their resignation to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi late night on Sunday, 25 September, to protest against the likely decision to make Sachin Pilot the state's chief minister if Ashok Gehlot were to resign from the post to fight the Congress presidential elections.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and NDTV.)

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