Jairam's praise for Gehlot earns flak

Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh’s reported remarks at a function here that Rajasthan’s chief minister Ashok Gehlot may break the record of veteran Congress chief minister Mohanlal Sukhadia who ruled the state for 17 years should have been music to the ears of Congressmen.

But it has caused a stir in party circles, at least among a section which is not very comfortable with the Gandhian chief minister.

Gehlot loyalists are attributing the remark to assert the point that Gehlot’s leadership is unparalleled in the state and the central leadership is projecting him as chief ministerial candidate in the assembly elections, to be held in December next year.

The anti-Gehlot camp, however, found some solace in the statement of Chandrabhan, state president of Congress.

He said the party high command traditionally decides on a chief minister in consultation with the legislators only after the elections and Ramesh’s statement reflects his personal opinion and not that of Congress high command.

‘He continues to win’

During a function held at a village in Dausa district a few days ago, Jairam Ramesh had attempted to counter Gehlot’s criticism by Kirori Lal Meena, an independent MP from the area, by remarking that Gehlot continues to win elections despite Meena’s ill wishes, and may even break the record of late Mohanlal Sukhadia as the longest serving chief minister of state. This is Gehlot’s second stint as chief minister.

Chandrabhan denied that the Union minister’s remarks were indicative of the high command’s views.

Jairam Ramesh has the habit of making controversial remarks, but the Congress does not announce the chief minister’s name before elections, Chandrabhan said.

Yatra vs yatra in R’than BJP

Groupism in the Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajasthan unit has reached its peak with former chief minister Vasundhara Raje embarking on a tour without informing the party's state leadership, reports DHNS from Jaipur.

Former state party president and Raje’s bête noire Gulab Chand Kataria raised the issue at a recent state core committee meeting. According to reports, Raje loyalist Rajendra Rathore had a heated exchange with Kataria over the issue.

To counter Raje’s yatra through some districts to gather `feedback' , Kataria kicked off a Mewar yatra in Udaipur division on Wednesday to highlight the `failures' of the Congress government. He had planned this a few months ago by the name ‘Janjagriti yatra’ but suspended it under pressure from BJP's central leadership, which had been approached by Raje.

The Rajasthan unit stands divided with one faction loyal to leader of the opposition in the Assembly Vasundhara Raje and another which is rooted in RSS ideology under the leadership of state party chief Arun Chaturvedi.

However, some BJP leaders tried to play down the development, citing Assembly elections due by the end of next year. “Elections are around the corner and each leader will tour his or her region. Senior leaders are visiting various parts of the state, meeting  party workers,” he said.

Sources said the state party leadership has already reported to the high command that Raje began her tour without taking other leaders into confidence. When no action was taken by the central leadership, Kataria embarked on his own yatra. Kataria will tour 35 constituencies of Mewar region.

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