After four hours of brainstorming at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters on Thursday (6 July), party general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal emphasized the need for a "united leadership" in Rajasthan elections.
During the press conferece, he clarified that while they do not announce a Chief Ministerial candidate for the upcoming state assembly elections, they will fight the election together and unitedly.
Senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot expressed his support for Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot signaling a truce between them. He too emphasized the importance of working together to ensure that the Congress government continues in the State, despite its reputation for voting out incumbent governments.
It should be noted that Pilot had led a revolt in the party in 2020 and since then has been continuously targeting Gehlot. Venugopal's warning that strict action would be taken against any leader who raises internal matters outside the party forum can be seen in this context.
The meeting, which was chaired by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, saw the attendance of senior leaders including Rahul Gandhi, AICC's Rajasthan in-charge Sukhjinder Randhawa, and State unit chief Govind Dotasra, among others. While Gehlot joined the meeting virtually due to his recent toe injury.
Venugopal stated that the Ashok Gehlot government will soon introduce two Bills in the Assembly. The first Bill aims to reform the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) by establishing minimum eligibility criteria for its members. The second Bill aims to impose strict penalties on individuals involved in leaking question papers for various recruitment exams.
Rahul Gandhi reportedly urged the State leadership to make corruption allegations against the previous BJP government in Rajasthan, as well as the Centre, a key campaign issue. He also emphasized the importance of accessibility to party workers and expressed disappointment that the organization does not adequately reward individuals for their efforts.
Pilot expressed satisfaction with the fruitful discussion regarding the upcoming election. He stated that everyone shared their views openly and confidently predicted that the Congress will achieve better results than the 2018 Assembly election, ultimately forming the government.
When asked about his role, Pilot stated that he would follow the directions given by the party. According to The Hindu, there is a possibility that he may be asked to lead the election campaign committee.
During the official briefing, Venugopal announced that the party plans to release its list of candidates in September. The selection of candidates will be based on ground surveys and a focus on choosing individuals with a high chance of winning.
He also praised the State government for its welfare schemes that benefit the people. He expressed confidence that the government's work will be the key to victory. Starting tomorrow, the MLAs will initiate a positive door-to-door campaign.
Former Minister and Baytu MLA Harish Chaudhary, who was reportedly asked by senior Congress leaders recently to resolve all issues between Gehlot and his former deputy Pilot, stated that he was successsful. As a result, the party will now contest the Assembly election under the "core leadership" of Kharge.
Despite the resolution of issues between Gehlot and Pilot, party workers in the State were surprised that the AICC did not officially announce any peace formula during the meeting.
Sources within the Congress party revealed that if there had been clarity on the issue, it would have fostered a sense of unity and satisfaction among the party workers who support the factions led by the two leaders.
According to party sources, there are indications that the vacant organisational posts in the Pradesh Congress Committee and the party's district units, including District Congress Committee presidents, will be filled up soon. The AICC is expected to issue lists with these appointments within a day or two.
During the meeting, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas mentioned that the Congress party has set a goal to defeat the BJP in the upcoming polls. He expressed confidence that the people of the State are supporting the ruling party.
Khachariyawas criticized the BJP for their involvement in corruption and for going back on the issues they previously raised. He stated that the party, which once promised to change the country, has failed to deliver.
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