Joshi won't lie low, speaks his mind at R'than Cong meet

Tells CM some home truths ahead of polls

The recent decision of the Congress to remove C P Joshi from the Union cabinet and give him an organisational responsibility outside Rajasthan might be a signal that the party highy command is betting on Ashok Gehlot for another term in Rajasthan.

But Joshi, an All India Congress Committee general secretary and a one-time protege to chief minister Gehlot, is not ready to lie low – as his  remarks at a high-level party meeting on Tuesday indicate.

The elevation of Girija Vyas, his competitor in Mewar, as his replacement in the Union cabinet, was another setback for Joshi, who has now been made party in-charge for eastern states.

At Tuesday's meeting,  Joshi – known for voicing frank opinion – reminded the chief minister that he could not take things for granted.

Joshi said that for the ruling party to retain power in the state, Gehlot will have to shed his reservations and take everyone along to face the upcoming Assembly elections, said sources.

The meeting, a joint one of the executive committee of the Pradesh Congress Commitee and the district Congress committees presidents, highlighted that the state Congress was still plagued with groupism and cronyism.

Likes and dislikes

Joshi said that despite being a widely accepted leader Gehlot was going by his personal likes and dislikes.

Drawing an allegory from Hindu mythology, Joshi said Gehlot would have to drink poison like Shiva did to ensure a Congress victory in the elections.

The allegory was to tell the chief minister that he should support even Congressmen he disliked if they were capable of winning, said a senior leader present at the meeting.
Joshi also explained the recent voting patterns to caution the chief minister and others against being overconfident of a victory in the coming elections.

Joshi said a minor shift in voting percentage could make or mar the chances of the party and the chief minister should have a large heart to accommodate other opinions. 

It was the first major meeting after the appointment of Gurudas Kamat as  AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan.

It was attended by state bigwigs like  AICC general secretary and Congress Working Committee member Mohan Prakash, Union ministers Sis Ram Ola and Girija Vyas, Union ministers of state Sachin Pilot, N M Meena and Lal Chand Kataria, Nagaur MP Jyoti Mirdha, and Jat leader and Rajasthan Kisan Aayog chairman Narayan Singh.

Most of these leaders are Gehlot detractors. The Joshi faction in the has been systematically sidelined in the state by the chief minister.

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