Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 27
The Congress on Tuesday issued show cause notices to three Ashok Gehlot loyalists including two ministers and sought replies in ten days failing which disciplinary action could be taken, even as the Rajasthan crisis continued to cast a shadow on the party president’s poll.
AICC disciplinary committee member Tariq Anwar late Tuesday sent notices to Rajasthan parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal, assembly chief whip Mahesh Joshi and Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation chairman Dharmerdra Rathore for committing “gross indiscipline” by planning and holding an unofficial MLA meeting in Jaipur on Sunday while an official CLP meeting had to be cancelled.
The notices followed submission of a report by AICC observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken to party president Sonia Gandhi.
In the report the observers said Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot knew of the CLP meeting. They however did not recommend any action against Gehlot, a development that led some leaders to believe that Gehlot could may well run as Congress chief even though he had clarified that his heart is in the state.
The notices say that a parallel MLA meeting “confused the MLAs” and constituted indiscipline.
The arrival of Gehlot’s potential replacement Sachin Pilot in Delhi on Tuesday also intensified speculation that Sonia Gandhi might be trying to broker truce between the two.
She meanwhile initiated consultations on the Rajasthan crisis and Congress presidential poll as both are inter linked due to Gehlot’s anticipated bid for the top party position.
Sonia will meet veterans AK Antony and Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday amid talks that a fresh set of AICC observers may be deputed to Rajasthan to resolve the crisis and save the party’s face. The timing of such deputation remains unclear though.
Meanwhile the names of Kharge, Mukul Wasnik, Digvijay Singh, Kamal Nath and Pawan Bansal, kept doing the rounds for the top post.
Digvijay Singh, Nath, Ambika Soni and Bansal ruled themselves out of the race.
Bansal’s name surfaced after he collected two forms from the office of Madhusudan Mistry, chairman, Central Election Authority.
Bansal later clarified he had collected the papers for Chandigarh PCC leaders who wanted to keep the forms ready for proposing and seconding the party presidential poll candidate.
I am not in contention, said Bansal.
What Congress Notices Say:
1. Against Rajasthan parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal: You committed grave indiscipline by hosting a parallel MLAs meeting at your residence pressuring them not to attend the official meeting. This confused the Congress MLAs as to which one was convened officially. This happened even when AICC observers had come to speak to each MLA individually and impartially report to Congress president and no decision would be made in haste.
2. Against minister and chief whip Mahesh Joshi: You as chief whip officially informed all MLAs of the CLP meet at 7 PM on Sunday but committed indiscipline by boycotting the official CLP meeting and convening a parallel meeting of MLAs when AICC observers were waiting for the official meeting to start.
3. Chairman RTDC Dharmendra Rathore: You made all logistical arrangements and were behind the entire planning of the unofficial MLA meeting.
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