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Congress replaces Rajasthan in-charge Pande with Maken to keep ‘promise’ made to Sachin Pilot

Avinash Pande was seen to be a supporter of CM Ashok Gehlot, and replacing him as the Congress’ Rajasthan in-charge was among the Pilot camp’s demands.

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New Delhi: Keeping its ‘promise’ made to Sachin Pilot, the Congress Sunday replaced Avinash Pande with Ajay Maken as the party’s general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan.

In a press statement, the Congress said it “wholeheartedly appreciates” Pande’s contribution.

Pilot welcomed the appointment of Maken to the post in a tweet.

According to a senior Congress leader, Pande’s removal from the responsibility was one of Pilot’s pressing demands, as the former Rajasthan deputy CM always viewed him as a loyalist of CM Ashok Gehlot. The move is part of the truce agreed between the two camps after Pilot and his loyalists’ month-long rebellion had put the future of the Congress government in trouble.

“The Pilot camp always felt that they were ignored by Pande. Many also feel that the situation went out of hand as Pande didn’t pay much attention before it finally exploded. Pilot, in his meeting, had insisted that Pande needs to be replaced, and the party has delivered,” the leader told ThePrint.

“There were many other issues that were raised by Pilot, but the party so far has not given any commitment, including on the way Gehlot manages his affairs and runs the government. But many feel the central leadership will be much more involved now,” the leader said.

However, another Congress leader said Pande had played his part as the Rajasthan in-charge, and was always ready for a dialogue. “Pande was also available for all MLAs. The Pilot camp tried to label him as a Gehlot supporter, but that is not a correct assessment. Changing him at this juncture is questionable,” said the second leader.


Also read: No need for post-mortem in Rajasthan crisis, govt is far from dead, says Congress’ Venugopal


Panel to hear Pilot’s grievances announced

The party also announced the members of the committee that is being set up to listen to the Pilot camps’ grievances, which had been raised at a meeting with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel and K.C. Venugopal on 10 August.

“Congress president has constituted a three-member committee to oversee and follow up the smooth resolution of recent issues in Rajasthan,” the Congress statement said Sunday, adding that the members of the panel will be Ahmed Patel, Maken and Venugopal.

Pilot also welcomed this move with a tweet.

Maken had been sent to Rajasthan as one of the observers during the political crisis, and stayed in Jaipur until its resolution.

After the meeting on 10 August, Pilot had thanked the Congress leadership for assuring him that it will look into the issues he raised, and insisted that his dissent against was “never about a post but self-respect”.

The Gehlot government won a trust vote in the Rajasthan assembly on 14 August as Pilot and his supporter MLAs put up a show of unity.


Also read: Vasundhara Raje has taught the BJP a lesson again. And Gehlot-Pilot did all the work for her


 

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