Amid Congress Punjab drama, Pilot meets Rahul, discusses ‘Rajasthan reshuffle’


On Friday, as the Congress leadership was preparing to make a leadership change in Punjab, senior Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot had a quiet meeting with former party chief Rahul Gandhi. The much-discussed reshuffle in the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan has been hanging fire for some time, and the two leaders are learnt to have discussed that, as also the political situation in the state.

AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Ajay Maken, has made multiple visits to the state and has taken views of all MLAs. A Cabinet reshuffle and inclusion of some MLAs loyal to him, besides political appointments to various boards and corporations in the state, had been a demand repeatedly placed before the party high command by Pilot.

But despite Maken making multiple visits, the reshuffle has not taken place. Sources said Pilot has been given an assurance again that the reshuffle would take place soon. With the party leadership asserting itself and easing out Amarinder Singh in Punjab, Congress leaders in Rajasthan are expecting a decisive intervention by the central leadership.

Senior AICC leaders, however, pointed out that the situation in Rajasthan, or for that matter in Chhattisgarh, is different from that of Punjab. Both Rajasthan CM Gehlot and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel command the support of a majority of party MLAs. But their rival factions in both states hope the central leadership will now mount pressure on them to fall in line.

Gehlot has so far refused to be pressured by the Cabinet reshuffle issue.

Chhattisgarh Health Minister T S Singh Deo, meanwhile, arrived in Delhi on what he said is a personal visit. Singh Deo is seen as hoping for a change of guard in Chhattisgarh and wants the high command to prod Baghel to honour an unwritten agreement — of rotating charge — that Baghel and he had agreed upon in 2018 when the party won the elections with a huge mandate.

Sources in Congress signaled that the issue of rotational CM is not a closed chapter.

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