The guardian angel of the congress will welcome in chief: Ashok Gehlot

There are few places Congress can call home now. Rajasthan is certainly one of them. One of only two states where it has its own majority government – the other being Chhattisgarh – the party has been to Rajasthan whenever it needs some time off. Whether it’s protecting MPs from poaching, organizing rallies or organizing Chintan Shivirs, including the one due to start in Udaipur on Friday.

This was first evident less than a year after the party came to power in Rajasthan in late 2018. In November 2019, Congress ferried its newly elected MPs from Maharashtra to Rajasthan, amid shenanigans around the formation of government in the state. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot personally oversaw arrangements to keep Maharashtra MPs away from prying hands at a resort town on the Delhi-Jaipur highway for several days, until Congress, Shiv Sena and the NCP worked out an unlikely alliance.

The CM deployed his trusted aides to ensure the MPs stay in place and held meetings himself with them and with former Maharashtra CMs Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan.

In the three years of his current tenure, Gehlot has also proved an enthusiastic host at other party events, with each such high-profile appearance a score against his rivals.

In early 2020, for example, Congress sent its MPs from Madhya Pradesh to Rajasthan, after Jyotiraditya Scindia moved to the BJP. Although Congress could not save his government in Madhya Pradesh, the more than 90 lawmakers he sent to Rajasthan remained loyal to the party.

Gehlot’s grip on the state is so strong that when there was a revolt against him, led by Sachin Pilot, in July-August 2020, he kept his loyalists in the state, where they were clearly seen having fun for a month. stay at the hotel. He survived this scare easily.

Pilot found refuge for his 18 MPs in Haryana, a BJP-ruled state, but had to return to Congress.

In December last year, Rajasthan was again the location where Congress planned a massive Mehangai Hatao rally against rising prices, after they claimed they had been denied permission in New Delhi. Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were all in attendance, with Gehlot delegating his administration to ensure the mega rally at Jaipur’s Vidyadhar Nagar stadium goes off without a hitch.

Now, ahead of the much-anticipated Congress Chintan Shivir, Gehlot has camped out in Udaipur to set things up. He was also in Udaipur a day after Jodhpur experienced communal tensions, prompting BJP attacks.

All major Congress leaders will attend the three-day session in Udaipur, including party chairwoman Sonia and former president Rahul, with hopes that the party may finally find a way out of the downward spiral in which he is committed.

By the way, the last Congress conclave was also held in Rajasthan, in 2013. Also, Gehlot was the CM, during his previous tenure. The Jaipur event had seen the elevation of Rahul Gandhi to the post of vice-president of the party, marking his official anointing as head of Congress.

Confirming that CM Gehlot was “personally updating all arrangements in Udaipur for the Chintan Shivir”, State Congress Spokesman Swarnim Chaturvedi said: “He is always eager to participate in organizational activities, and the party will mainly focus on organizational matters. , as well as factors influencing youth, the economy and farmers.

A senior Congress official said its proximity to Delhi was one of the reasons for Rajasthan’s popularity with Congress. “It has good connectivity with Delhi and the National Capital Region. But the fact that Congress has a single strong government in the state also gives Gehlot an edge over other states when it comes to organizing national party events outside Delhi,” said the chief.

Gehlot is optimistic about Chintan Shivir. Speaking to the media, he predicted “great success”.

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