News Analysis | Congress infighting may prolong

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot underwent angioplasty on August 27, 2021. Photo: Special Arrangement  

At a time when the Congress is doing firefighting in Chhattisgarh and Punjab over leadership issue, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s health issues could temporarily put off a solution in the third Congress-ruled State that has witnessed similar tension.

On Friday, Mr. Gehlot underwent angioplasty (procedure to open blocked coronary arteries) and this could delay the proposed expansion/reshuffle of his Council of Ministers to accommodate supporters of his arch rival, Sachin Pilot, before the start of the Assembly session on September 9.

Earlier, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Ajay Maken, had indicated that the process of Cabinet expansion would be over by August 15.

However, last week, he changed his stance, saying Cabinet expansion in Rajasthan was “work in progress” and didn’t want to be bound by any fixed timeline.

Patience running thin in Pilot camp

Though the Pilot camp has maintained silence so far, their patience is running thin as the party’s top leadership has not been able to ‘deliver’ on its promise of accommodating all factions for several weeks now.

Simultaneous trouble for all the Congress-ruled States is indicative of the ‘loosening’ grip of the Gandhis over party affairs.

Though party chief Sonia Gandhi asserted her authority in appointing Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Punjab unit chief, ignoring the opposition from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as well as Parliamentarians, bitter factionalism continues to play out publically in the State.

While the Chief Minister’s camp bitterly attacked Mr. Sidhu’s advisor for his controversial remarks on Kashmir and Pakistan, Mr. Sidhu is said to have complained of “lack of freedom in decision-making”.

AICC in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat said, “I can't question him on the basis of media speculation... I will see the context of the statement. He is party chief, who other than him can take decisions?”. He would meet former party chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, Mr. Rawat added.

The Chhattisgarh spat

And in Chhattisgarh, where Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo has openly reminded the party high command’s promise of rotating the chief ministership, incumbent Bhupesh Baghel is publicly parading Ministers and MLAs who are supporting him in the power tussle.

And such a display of strength took place despite the central leadership making it clear that there was no need for Chhattisgarh MLAs to come to Delhi.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 6:28:47 PM |

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