Jaipur, April 13 (IANS) Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is facing vocal opposition from some Congress party colleagues over his style of functioning. But many believe he will manage to stay put, especially as assembly elections are due next year.
At least 13 legislators considered loyal to union minister C.P. Joshi recently met Ahmed Patel, political advisor to Sonia Gandhi, in Delhi and complained against 60-year-old Gehlot, accusing him of poor governance.
"No one listens to us. The chief minister has become arrogant. Our pleas are being ignored. Nobody's attending to important issues of the state and this will cost the party dearly. We have told the high command about the worsening situation in Rajasthan," said Udai Lal Anjana, the Congress legislator from Nimbahera in Chittorgarh.
Some have even complained to Rajasthan Congress in-charge Mukul Wasnik about Gehlot's style of functioning and requesting his removal.
But party insiders say these moves may not amount to much.
"The chief minister is in full control and there is no crisis in the state," a Congress functionary told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"Gehlot has big stature in the state; it is the second time he has become chief minister and is very popular. He has a clean image and there is no other leader in the Congress party who can come even a bit close when it comes to attracting crowds," he said.
"In these circumstances how can the party high command even think of effecting a change in the state, that too, on a complaint of 15-20 party colleagues? If he is removed, that too when elections are due in a year or so, it will not be good for the party," he said.
Ratan Dewasi, a Congress legislator, agreed.
"Gehlot has proved his political acumen by turning a minority government into a majority after inducting all six Bahujan Samaj Party legislators into the party and running the government successfully for over three years," said Dewasi.
The Congress had won 96 seats in the 200 member assembly elections in 2008 and all six BSP legislators had joined the Congress, giving the ruling party a majority in the state.e
"Also, earlier there was a strong feeling that the Congress may not come back in the next elections, but after he presented a people-friendly budget, there is talk that the party may perform much better than earlier thought."
Ramesh Sharma, a political analyst, also believes Gehlot will survive.
"The stature of Gehlot in the state and the TINA (There Is No Alternative) factor seem to be strongly in his favour at present," he said.
Sharma said neither Joshi nor any other MP can even think of fighting the assembly polls at the moment as there will always be a danger of losing the polls. Joshi had lost his seat in the last assembly elections and after that he won as an MP from Bhilwara.
Under these circumstances, the party might only think of giving instructions or a warning to Gehlot, who may not concede the demands of the legislators, he added.
(Anil Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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