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Business News/ Elections / Rajasthan election: Congress infighting on ticket distribution brings forth old rivalries

Rajasthan election: Congress infighting on ticket distribution brings forth old rivalries

Infighting among Congress members in Rajasthan intensifies as the party releases its fourth list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly election. Frustration over ticket allocation leads to protests, resignations, and AICC notices to ministers.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with Congress leader Sachin Pilot (PTI)Premium
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with Congress leader Sachin Pilot (PTI)

The election season in Rajasthan has yet again exposed the infighting among the Congress members which has riddled the party ever since it formed Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state. Just as elections are coming closer, disgruntled leaders from Congress and their supporters are taking to the streets. This time for securing tickets to contest the Rajasthan Assembly election 2023.

The protests were held in many pockets of Rajasthan just a day after the Congress released its fourth list of candidates for the Rajasthan Assembly election. The frustration over ticket allocation led party members to burn tires and effigies, send letters to party leaders, and stage protests. Some Rajasthan Congress leaders even resigned from party posts. At least seven sitting Congress MLAs were denied tickets to contest the Rajasthan election.

Of the sitting Congress MLAs, two ministers in the Ashok Gehlot government -- Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) minister Mahesh Joshi and UDH minister Shanti Dhariwal – were among those who were served AICC notice over indiscipline for allegedly organising and attending a separate Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting in Jaipur

Sitting Congress MLA Bairwa, also a supporter of Sachin Pilot, believes that he’s being punished for “standing by the party leadership". "I have been punished for speaking the truth and standing by the party leadership. I did not resign that day and was at CM residence on September 25, 2022," Bairwa said.

Also Read | Is Sachin Pilot floating his own party?

The events following ticket distribution in Rajasthan have once again highlighted the long-standing divisions between the party leaders, highlighting the events that happened since Sachin Pilot's rebellion. In 2020, Sachin Pilot, with his supporters, rebelled against the state leadership, bringing the Ashok Gehlot government to the brink of collapse and rattling the Congress leadership.

The following years until November 2023 haven't been smooth for the Rajasthan Congress. After Sachin Pilot's rebellion, ninety MLAs displayed their dissatisfaction due to speculations suggesting that the Congress leadership might consider Sachin Pilot for the Chief Ministership if Ashok Gehlot were to win the Congress Presidential polls.

While Ashok Gehlot withdrew from the contest, shattering Sachin Pilot's dreams of sitting on the chief ministerial seat, the latter didn't shy away from questioning the party for no action against the Ashok Gehlot loyalists over their "open defiance". Sachin Pilot has also accused Ashok Gehlot of not launching a probe into corruption charges against Vasundhara Raje.

In the run-up to the Rajasthan Assembly election, Sachin Pilot held a five-day Jan Sangharsh Yatra and gave a 15-day ultimatum to Ashok Gehlot to act on corruption charges.

Rajasthan is going to polls on November 23 and the counting of votes will be on December 3. Despite both leaders pledging to jointly contest the Rajasthan Assembly election, recent developments suggest that dissent and dissatisfaction may persist for some time.

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Published: 03 Nov 2023, 03:28 PM IST
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