Rajasthan cabinet reshuffle: Congress chief to have final word, no contradiction among party leaders, says Ajay Maken

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AICC general secretary Ajay Maken on Sunday said there is no contradiction among the party's leaders in Rajasthan on the issue of cabinet reshuffle and that they have expressed confidence in the high command for the decision.

After meeting ministers, MLAs and office-bearers at the party office in Jaipur, Maken said all of them have unanimously left the decision of the cabinet reshuffle on the party high command.

However, Maken did not disclose a date of the cabinet expansion.

"I can say that there is no contradiction among the party leaders and they all have left the final decision about the cabinet expansion to the party high command," he told reporters.

Maken, together with AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal, arrived at the party office in Jaipur for the meeting. He said issues such as inflation and the Pegasus matter were discussed.

Maken said he would come to Jaipur again on 28 July to hold discussions with MLAs on the appointment of district and block presidents of the party.

The meeting assumes significance amid talks of a possible cabinet expansion to sack the non-performers and accommodate some more Sachin Pilot loyalists. Pilot had almost led a rebellion against the Congress but the party high command had managed to pacify the rebels at the time.

Earlier in the day, party sources had told PTI that a final decision on the issue of cabinet reshuffle has been left to the Congress high command and the expansion is likely to be held in the next few days.

The sources confirmed that the late-night parleys by AICC general secretaries Venugopal and Maken with Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot were indeed about the cabinet reshuffle and political appointments. However, after discussions, the leaders have left the final decision about the reshuffle to the party high command, the sources said.

At present, there are 21 members in the council of ministers, including chief minister, and nine slots are vacant. Rajasthan can have a maximum of 30 ministers.

After Punjab, the party high command has shifted its focus to Rajasthan, where demands for cabinet expansion and political appointments have gained momentum after reports of resentment in the camp led by former deputy chief minister Pilot. Three days back, Pilot had indicated that Congress would take suitable steps soon to address issues raised by him.

He had said that he is in touch with the party high command over the issues raised by him and hoped that the required steps would be taken soon.

Pilot was sacked as the deputy chief minister and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief in July last year after he rebelled against the leadership of Gehlot. After a one-month-long political crisis, the party high command announced to form a three-member committee to look into the issues raised by him.

Last month, MLAs from the Pilot camp said that the party should fulfil the promises made to Pilot last month, following which the demand for cabinet expansion and political appointments gained momentum.

It was also decided that the manifesto committee of AICC will hold a meeting to review the progress in the implementation of the party manifesto of Rajasthan. The committee chairman will visit the state later this month, the sources added.

With inputs from PTI

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