Other States

Independent MLAs back Gehlot

Ashok Gehlot.  

Independent MLAs supporting the Congress government in Rajasthan on Wednesday expressed faith in the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot amid the demand for a share in power raised by former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot’s camp in the ruling party.

The independent legislators said the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle was solely Mr. Gehlot’s prerogative.

Twelve of the 13 Independents, who met at the Circuit House here, adopted a resolution denouncing the “pressure tactics” of the Pilot camp for political appointments and getting berths in the State Cabinet. The MLAs, most of whom are of the Congress background, said they were not hankering after power and had no desire to become Ministers.

Sirohi MLA Sanyam Lodha told reporters after the meeting that the Independent legislators, who had extended support to the Gehlot government during the political crisis last year, were willing to make “all sacrifices” for giving a stable regime to the people in the State. “We wish to give a befitting reply to those who want to topple the State government.” Mr. Lodha said.

‘Undisputed leader’

Mr. Lodha, who had contested and won the 2018 Assembly election as a rebel after being denied the Congress ticket, said Mr. Pilot was a “fortunate leader”, as he had not faced any failure in his political career, except when he staged a rebellion last year. “Mr. Gehlot is the undisputed leader of Rajasthan. We have left all decisions to him for managing the present situation,” he said.

Former Union Minister Mahadeo Singh Khandela, representing Sikar district’s Khandela constituency, said Mr. Gehlot’s effective COVID-19 management and his policies for the State’s development had made him a political leader liked by all sections of society.

He said all Independents had reposed confidence in Mr. Gehlot’s leadership in the interest of the State.

In the hour-long meeting, the MLAs also sought appointments to the vacant posts of revenue officials and regularisation of contract workers, while calling upon all non-BJP parties to launch an agitation against the spiralling petrol and diesel prices. The legislators congratulated the State government for successfully handling the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

Unconditional support

The independent MLAs’ unconditional support gave a shot in the arm to Mr. Gehlot, who has been unwilling to accommodate Mr. Pilot and his loyalists in the government since last year’s political turmoil.

With the Congress party’s central leadership unable to persuade Mr. Gehlot for reaching a comprise, no Cabinet expansion is likely to take place in the near future under pressure from the Pilot camp.

Besides Mr. Lodha and Mr. Khandela, other Independents who attended the meeting were Ramkesh Meena, Ramila Khadiya, Suresh Tak, Khushveer Singh, Om Prakash Hudla, Ramkumar Gaur, Kanti Prasad, Laxman Meena, Alok Beniwal and Babulal Nagar.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 2:57:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/independent-mlas-back-gehlot/article34940241.ece

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