Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)
Ministers’ fight brings Cong infighting to fore
Two senior ministers exchange heated words in cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister
The frictions in Rajasthan Congress have come to the fore again with two senior ministers in the Ashok Gehlot cabinet having a verbal duel at a cabinet meeting, chaired by the chief minister on Thursday.
When the cabinet meeting was about to conclude, state party chief and education minister Govind Singh Dotasara said the ministers in-charge of districts should submit a memorandum to collectors, and CM and state party chief to the governor for free vaccines to all. Urban development minister Shanti Dhariwal intervened and stated ‘why to collectors, we should approach president and complain against Government of India’, two ministers present in the meeting said.
This was followed by a verbal duel between the two. “It reached to such as a point that Dotasara tried to leave the meeting, but was stopped by the CM, who asked both of them to show restrain,” said a minister present at the meeting.
“Such scene in the cabinet probably has happened for the first time, and was unfortunate,” said second minister on condition of anonymity.
Dotasara said, “Everyone has to respect the Congress, be it the government or the organisation. Every person should be respected and no one is above the party. All should ensure that they aren’t denting the image of the party.”
It was not the first instance when the state Congress leaders have a face-off. In July 2020, then state Congress president Sachin Pilot, along with 18 other MLAS, had rebelled against the state leadership.
In March this year, Congress MLA Ramesh Meena, considered close to Pilot, had alleged that the party was not allowing scheduled caste and scheduled tribe MLAS to speak in the assembly.
Meena stated that SC/ST MLAS are given seats in assembly where there are no mikes. However, chief whip Mahesh Joshi denied any discrimination.
Last month, disgruntled MLA from Gudamalani in Barmer, Hemaram Choudhary had sent his resignation to speaker CP Joshi. He was annoyed with the government for not paying heed to his demand for projects in his constituency.
Following the resignation, a first time MLA, Ved Solanki suggested that the governance should be decentralised – there are many departments without ministers and the bureaucracy is dominating.
Political analyst Manish Godha said the ministers’ confrontation was more related to challenge to the authority of the state president.
Earlier also, the party president’s call for social media campaign against inflation was not participated by many ministers and leaders; and now this issue of submitting memorandum on vaccines.
He said, “Congress which was already struggling with factionalism is now facing another crisis related to lack of faith on leadership.”
BJP MLA and spokesperson Ram Lal Sharma said Congress is using all means to save its government in Rajasthan. “There is no internal democracy in Congress – a state party chief has to seek CM’S help to put forward his voice. A farmer’s son is not given platform to speak is unfortunate,” he said.