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Ajay Maken replaces Avinash Pande as Rajasthan Congress in-charge after Pilot’s truce


Congress leader Ajay Maken (File photo)

By Siddharth Sharma
New Delhi [India], Aug 16 (ANI): Two days after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government won the trust vote, the Congress high command has removed the in-charge Avinash Pande, apparently on the demand of Sachin Pilot. In his place, Ajay Maken, former Union Minister and trusted confidant of Rahul Gandhi has been given the charge of Rajasthan.
After a gap of about five years, Ajay Maken has returned to All India Congress Committee (AICC). According to sources, former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot after his return to party fold had demanded Pande’s removal from the post.
With this, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has also constituted a high-powered committee, according to the announcement made earlier to resolve Rajasthan issues between party leaders. Senior leader Ahmed Patel, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and Ajay Maken, the new in-charge of the state, have been made members of this committee. The challenge before this committee is to resolve the complaints of Pilot group.
As an observer during political turmoil after Pilot’s and Gehlot’s difference came in open, Maken was trying to keep the party united by staying with the party MLAs in Rajasthan and also trying to convince the Pilot group. The matter may have been resolved at the moment but the challenge of keeping Gehlot and Pilot together will remain present before Maken. Maken has a lot of experience in the organisation and the government and apart from this, his image is of a seasoned politician.
According to sources, Pilot had asked Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Ahmed Patel to remove Avinash Pande in a meeting at Congress War room, which seems to have been heard by the Congress high command. A committee has also been formed to resolve Sachin’s complaints.
In this entire controversy, Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala were sent to Rajasthan as observers. Ajay Maken seems to have received a reward for settling the issue.
The Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan won vote of confidence in the state assembly on Friday by voice vote. The two factions in the Congress-led by Gehlot and Pilot had come together ahead of the assembly session.
Pilot had the support of 18 other MLAs.
Pilot was removed as Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress chief last month after his differences with Gehlot came out in open triggering a political crisis in the state. Pilot was miffed after the SOG sent him a notice to record his statement in a case of alleged poaching of Congress MLAs in the state. (ANI)

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