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Captain Amarinder Singh’s exit gives hope to Pilot camp

The Times of India logo The Times of India 21-09-2021
Sachin Pilot holding a sign © Provided by The Times of India

JAIPUR: Political developments in Punjab that led to replacement of Amarinder Singh with Charanjit Singh Channi as the new chief minister on Monday, have revived hopes in Rajasthan Congress — now looking forward to an overhaul in the party’s state unit.

Sources in the Rajasthan Congress say many now believe that CM Ashok Gehlot may no longer be able to postpone accommodating the rival factions, especially the one led by his former deputy Sachin Pilot, in the state government. Party workers feel changes could take place after the fortnight-long “Pitru Paksha” — considered inauspicious for any new initiative — that began from Monday.

READ ALSO: Under fire, Congress says will fight Punjab polls under both Channi, Sidhu

The demand for Cabinet expansion and reshuffle, political appointments in state commissions and boards and reconstitution of the Rajasthan Congress unit has been pending since July-August last year when Pilot and his 18 loyalist legislators revolted against Gehlot’s leadership.

A day before the political manoeuvring that culminated in Amarinder Singh stepping down as Punjab CM, AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan, Ajay Maken and Pilot separately held discussions with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.

Maken, who played a key role in the change of guard in Punjab, is part of the AICC committee tasked to consider the demands of the Pilot faction. In the run up to the developments in Punjab, Maken told media that cabinet changes in Rajasthan would have taken place by now but for Gehlot’s ill health.

“Through Punjab, the Congress high command has conveyed that it can act tough even against top leaders toeing their own line,” said a PCC office bearer.

MLA Ved Prakash Solanki, who rebelled along with Pilot last year, told TOI, “Congress central leadership is now working full force. We are sure of a revamp soon here too so that we defeat BJP in the next election.”

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