New Delhi: Congress’s General Secretary K.C. Venugopal’s statement Tuesday that “there will be an amicable settlement for the Rajasthan affairs” has led to speculations about steps being taken to defuse the ongoing political crisis in the desert state.
Venugopal reached Jaipur Tuesday to review preparations for Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra that is scheduled to enter Rajasthan on 5 December.
Last week, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, in an interview to a television channel, had called his former deputy Sachin Pilot a traitor and a man who could not, under any circumstance, succeed him to the chief minister’s chair.
This interview was preceded by a statement from Vijay Bainsla, president of the Gurjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti — a community from which Pilot hails — threatening to disrupt Gandhi’s Kanyakumari to Kashmir march if the pending demands of his community are not met. He had also asked for Pilot to be made chief minister.
Congress, however, may prefer status quo in the state till the high profile yatra leaves, some time in the third week of December. Sources in the Delhi Congress told ThePrint that the general mood of the party leadership is not to rock the boat just yet.
“There is no need to take any decision right away. Congress will not look at it (leadership issue in Rajasthan) till the yatra is over, at least in Rajasthan. Why should we succumb to the media hunting for headlines?” a senior leader of the party said.
This is contrary to the impression given by Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh recently that the party was ready to take tough decisions on Rajasthan. Ramesh has been walking alongside former president Rahul Gandhi in the yatra.
Some placatory statements, however, have also been made by the Congress leadership.
During one of his interactions en route the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Gandhi said both Gehlot and Pilot were assets for the party.
Similarly, while addressing an election rally in Gujarat’s Dadiapada Monday, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge had described Gehlot as “our favourite leader who is working with all his heart for the Gujarat elections”. Gehlot was present at the event too.
‘No need for change at this time’
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is scheduled to cover 18 assembly constituencies across six districts of Rajasthan, over a period of about 20 days.
Congress sources said discussions on the Rajasthan crisis are likely to come up in “personal discussions” between senior leaders when members of the party’s steering committee meet on 4 December. The steering committee comprises members of the Congress Working Committee.
“Gehlot is steering the election in Gujarat. Besides, when the yatra enters Rajasthan he would be in charge of preparations to ensure smooth passage. There is no reason for that to be changed at this point of time,” said a senior AICC leader.