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No rebellion, can we demand nothing from leaders, asks Gehlot Loyalist?

The political crisis in the Rajasthan Congress is not an “uprising” but just a “message,” Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, minister and CM Ashok Gehlot loyalist told CNN News18.

As the name of the CM began to circulate for the post of Congress President, on Sunday 90 Gehlot loyalist MLAs submitted their resignations to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi over a possible move to appoint Deputy CM Sachin Pilot as the next CM. The resignation came shortly before the MLAs were scheduled to attend the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting at 7 p.m.

The meeting was postponed indefinitely, even though about 28 MLAs, including Pilot and some of his loyalists and neutral MLAs, made it to the CM’s residence for the meeting. The Gehlot camp meanwhile met at the residence of Rajasthan Minister Shanti Dhariwal.

The MLA’s resignation brings the strength of the Rajasthan assembly down to 108, where it will be halfway through 55. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 70 MLAs in the House.

The party then asked All India Congress Committee (AICC) observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge to submit a written report to the head of the congress, Sonia Gandhi. While Maken said on Tuesday Gandhi had been informed of the matter, Khachariyawas said it was their “internal matter”.

“We are 102 MLAs. We gave a message that we were there to save the government. We just want one of us to be chosen for the CM’s post. Can’t we demand anything from our leaders,’ he asked.

We are 102 MLAs. We gave a message that we were there to save the government. We just want one of us to be chosen for the CM’s post. Can’t we demand anything from our leaders? This is not such a big deal that the party has to think about action. It’s not rebellion. We are going to accept a CM of those 19 . free of charge [Pilot camp]. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are our leaders.

Expanding further, he said: “This is not such a big deal that the party should think about action. It is not a rebellion. We are going to accept a CM from those 19 free of charge. [Pilot camp]. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi are our leaders. There is no doubt about it. It was our anger and we showed it to the high command of our party.”

About the “individual meetings with MLAs,” he said, “we were ready. They could have met us in a group and then individually.”

After the meeting, Dhariwal had said all MLAs had told him that a “loyal congressman” out of 102 people should be selected for the CM post. “Any of those 102 MLAs selected by Sonia Gandhi for CM post will be accepted by all. Rajasthan MLAs will not sit and tolerate traitors being rewarded,” Dhariwal said in an attack on Maken.

Commenting on that, Khachariyawas said: “It has undoubtedly been discussed in the meeting of MLAs. I won’t lie. Yes, it has been discussed.”

When asked if Pilot wasn’t a “Congressi,” he said, “Yeah, he’s very much here in Congress, but you journalists are trying to stretch it.”

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