The Congress has not yet achieved the target of balancing its unit in Rajasthan, which witnessed turmoil last year after the rebellion by the Sachin Pilot-led faction. The party still seems to be divided between two camps led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy Chief Minister Pilot.
K.C. Venugopal, top Rahul Gandhi aide and party General Secretary (organisation), is in Jaipur to hold consultation with all the factions and report to the party high command, sources said. The meeting gains significance ahead of the cabinet expansion in the state with the Pilot camp wanting more representation from its side.
Venugopal met Gehlot at his residence on Wednesday and the meeting lasted for almost three hours. State Congress President Govind Singh Dotasra was also present in the meeting. Venugopal later met Pilot and discussed the ongoing situation in the state Congress.
Sources said the impending cabinet expansion was at the centre of the talks and Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state is also on the cards.
The Congress recently gave representation to all the factions in the party organisation and now it is the turn of the cabinet, boards and corporations.
While the Congress in Rajasthan continues to face a tough task in balancing the equation between Gehlot and Pilot, it also faces challenge to accommodate all the factions in the state.
In Rajasthan, the party saw a major internal crisis last year after Pilot raised a banner of revolt. However, he later retruned to the party fold following a truce. Trouble, however, in the state seems to be far from over.
Sources said Pilot wants his loyalists to be reinstated in the party positions as well as in the council of ministers, particularly Ramesh Meena and Vishvendra Singh. Both were suspended and removed as state ministers after Pilot with his 18 MLAs camped in Haryana’s Manesar in an open rebellion against the Gehlot leadership.
The party lost the rural polls due to differences among the state leaders. However, it was able to make a comeback in the urban local body polls.
While Gehlot met the party leaders when he came to attend the meeting called by Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on December 19, the issue of cabinet expansion has not yet been settled.