Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai)

Congress begins process to disqualify rebel legislator­s

- Sachin Saini letters@hidnustant­imes.com (with inputs from agencies) HTC

JAIPUR: The Congress initiated late on Tuesday the process of disqualify­ing legislator­s who failed to attend two consecutiv­e legislatur­e party meetings in Jaipur as the party scrambled to shore up its numbers and save its government.

The decision came hours after Sachin Pilot was removed as deputy chief minister and two other ministers, Vishwendra Singh and Ramesh Meena, were dropped from the cabinet. Singh and Meena are considered close associates of 42-year-old Pilot.

Congress general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, said the party had initiated the process of issuing notice to the MLAS who did not attend the Congress Legislatur­e Party meeting by submitting a petition before assembly speaker CP Joshi.

He said the absence of the

MLAS from the CLP meeting amounted to giving up their membership of the party voluntaril­y as they tried to destabilis­e the government. “We have filed a petition before the speaker for dismissal, if the replies aren’t found justified, then it is up to the speaker to decide the action,” said Pande.

There was no immediate response from the office of speaker CP Joshi. None of the MLAS who skipped the two meetings – one on Monday and one on Tuesday – was available for comment. To be sure, Pilot has neither been expelled nor has he formally quit the primary membership of the party. The same holds true for all the other rebel MLAS.

Pande refused to specify the number of MLAS who will get the and when asked, only said, “All who were absent from the CLP.”

Senior Congress leaders confirmed to HT that 88 party MLAS attended Monday’s meeting while 86 were present at Tuesday’s meeting. Two MLAS – speaker Joshi and minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal, who is in hospital, were not expected to attend.

Late on Tuesday, the Congress also dissolved the state executive, all department and cells of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee. With the appointmen­t of the new state president, a new state executive, department­s and cells will be constitute­d again, said Pande.

NEWDELHI: Sachin Pilot broke his silence amid the turmoil in Rajasthan’s government on Tuesday and thanked his supporters shortly after the Congress removed him as the deputy chief minister and state unit chief even as many leaders from his party said they regretted the developmen­ts over the past two days that roiled the administra­tion.

“My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today,” he tweeted. Earlier in the day, he tweeted in Hindi, “Truth can be harassed, but not defeated.” He also changed his profile details on Twitter, deleting all references to his positions as deputy chief minister and Rajasthan Congress chief, and described himself as MLA of Tonk and a former minister of IT, Telecom & Corporate affairs, Government of India.

Pilot was removed from his positions after he refused to attend the Congress Legislatur­e Party (CLP) meeting in Jaipur on Tuesday. To be sure, he has neither been expelled nor has he formally quit the primary membership of the party.

Congress spokespers­on Abhishek Singhvi said Pilot held a constituti­onal post and some of his actions may not have been in sync with that position.

“Some doors have to close if the open doors are not utilised for constructi­ve closures. We still hope that closure of options will

MUMBAI: Congress on Tuesday evening suspended its party leader Sanjay Jha for anti-party activities and breach of discipline, after he backed Sachin Pilot, who was suspended from the party in the afternoon.

The decision was announced by Maharasthr­a Congress chief Balasahebe­b Thorat in a press statement.

The move came after Sanjay Jha tweeted, “There is a simple

You need essentials:

medicines, provisions, food be an exception, and harmonious settlement the rule. A constituti­onal government responsibi­lity of deputy CM obviously sits uneasily with activities which are anti-party,” he said.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said the developmen­t was “disappoint­ing” for party workers who reposed faith in the party.

“It is not just disappoint­ing for the party, but also for the grassroots workers, who want the party to progress and do well. The biggest blow is to the common workers who have reposed faith in the party. This has certainly hurt the common workers,” he said.

Another senior leader Salman Khurshid dubbed the developmen­ts sad. “I don’t want to go into the specifics of apportioni­ng blame. I wish that we would all together be fighting the challenges rather than letting such things happen,” he said.

Former union minister Jitin Prasada said no one could take away the fact that Pilot worked with dedication for the Congress.

“Sachin Pilot is not just a colleague but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this,” he tweeted.

Another Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said he was sad to see Pilot “leave” the Congress and hoped that reconcilia­tion was still possible..


solution to the Rajasthan conundrum: Sachin Pilot should be made CM, Mr Ashok Gehlot (already 3 time CM) must be given a senior organisati­onal role to revive weak states. A new leader appointed as head of RPCC. Where there’s a will there is a way.” Jha was recently sacked as party spokespers­on after he criticised the party leadership in an article.

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