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Rajasthan Congress divided over induction of BSP MLAs


Jaipur: The Congress is facing a tough challenge of containing infighting in the Rajasthan unit, with the latest bone of contention being the induction of six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs into the party.

It's an open secret that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and state party chief Sachin Pilot don't see eye to eye.

And the latest trigger is the induction of six BSP MLAs into the party without taking Pilot into confidence. On Thursday, when Pilot called the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) meeting, many leaders considered close to Gehlot did not attend.

Gehlot loyalist Vishvendra Singh, Uday Lal Aanjna, Master Bhanwarlal, Lal Chand Kataria were absent. But a PCC source said not everybody was required to attend.

Gehlot has consolidated his position by poaching BSP legislators. But the state party leadership is miffed. According to a source, they came to know about the major political development from media reports.

It was also raised with the central party leadership. However, sources said, they were aware of the operation, but kept it secret. Only the Chief Minister and few of his close aides knew about it.

Pilot has himself criticised the government - in which he is the number 2 - on law and order saying, "It's true we should pay more attention to law and order". The law and order comes under the Home Ministry being headed by Gehlot.

He said a lot of incidents had taken place and they should not be allowed to be repeated. He cited disturbing events in Dholpur to Alwar, jail-break and communal incidents.

Ensuring law and order was an important part of the government's responsibilities, he said and added, "my daughters should be safe."

Both Gehlot and Pilot are at loggerheads to fortify their political turfs. Before the Assembly poll results, Pilot was said to be natural claimant for the top post. But Gehlot convinced the central party leadership that only he could run a minority government and shield the party from the BJP's onslaught.

Former minister and PCC vice-president Laxman Singh Rawat said, "The party workers motivation shall go down if newly-inducted BSP MLAs are elevated to ministerial rank."

He asked Gehlot to avoid promoting such MLAs. "You have done this earlier too however now, you should avoid taking this step as this shall demotivate Congress MLAs and workers," he said.

There are many Congress MLAs who have not been elevated to ministerial ranks, however, there are BSP MLAs who have won for the first time and their elevation will not give a right message to the party workers, he said.

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