New Delhi: With the fate of Assembly polls candidates sealed in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the Congress’ focus has now shifted to managing a massive crisis of rebellion in Rajasthan.
Despite claims of managing rebellion within party ranks, there are at least 20 rebels still in the fray seriously challenging the official Congress nominees. The party high command is understood to have spoken to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot to bring the situation under control immediately.
The senior leadership of the party is also learnt to have told the AICC’s Rajasthan in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, to ensure that rebellion within the ranks is immediately quelled and discipline restored, sources said.
It is understood that the situation is so bad that Randhawa had to issue letters warning the rebels to withdraw or face disciplinary action from the organization. A similar warning has also been sounded out to senior leaders and party workers who are supporting candidates other than the authorized Congress candidates in their respective areas, sources said.
Sources stated that the party is fearing the rebels as they could ensure its loss in the state on a significant number of the seats in the Assembly polls. Most of these rebel candidates are the ones who have been denied party tickets. However, the issue creating trouble for the party is that they have the tacit backing of their respective faction leaders, who have a hold in their respective regions.
This clearly indicates that the Congress’ house hasn’t been put in order as most of these rebels owe allegiance to senior leaders at the helm. Many of these have been entered into the fray to ensure the defeat of rival factions, sources pointed out. Over the past few months, the grand old party had been plagued by factionalism in Rajasthan, with the Chief Minister and his former deputy opening fronts against each other.
Meanwhile, Congress has also deployed teams of leaders to speak to the rebel candidates and is trying desperately to ensure that these rebels withdraw in favour of the official candidates of the grand old party, sources added.
Voting for the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly is scheduled to take place on November 25, while the counting of votes will be done on December 3.
In the 2018 Assembly polls, BJP was only able to secure 75 seats in the 200-member legislature, losing the crucial state to the Congress which was able to secure 99 seats.
Rajasthan is an important state on the national political map and political parties including Congress, BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are aiming to secure votes and seats ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP- Rashtriya Loktantrik Party alliance had secured all 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan in 2019. And the saffron unit is hoping for a repeat performance in 2024, and a boost to its cadre, after securing the state Assembly polls.
Unless the Congress leadership puts a complete stop to the rebellion in Rajasthan soon, the much-anticipated close contest this time around will be lost by the grand old party on December 3.