Congress swallows bitter pill, replaces Avinash Pandey with Ajay Maken as in-charge Rajasthan

Lalit Shastri

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot and Avinash Pandey

Congress High Command has had to swallow the bitter pill and replace Avinash Pandey, the party General Secretary in-charge of Rajasthan affairs with Ajay Maken only to accommodate and meet the demand for a committee to “look into issues” raised by rebel party leader Sachin Pilot, who along with his small band of followers among the Congress legislators had kept the party to ransom and was threatening the survival of the Ashok Gehlot Government.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has constituted a 3-member panel, comprising of Ahmed Patel, AICC in-charge organisation and AICC in-charge Rajasthan to follow up and resolve “recent issues in Rajasthan. Tagged with this order, issued by party general Secretary K C Venugopal, is another order for appointment of Ajay Maken as General Secretary in-charge of Rajasthan in place of Avinash Pandey. This order also puts on record “whole hearted appreciation of the contribution” of Pandey, who also has the credit of playing an important role in bringing the Congress to power in Rajasthan in 2018.

The truce between Pilot and the Congress leadership came only as Pilot failed to muster the numbers to topple the Gehlot Government. If there is one person besides Chief Minister Gehlot, who should get as much credit for keeping the Rajasthan Congress MLAs from falling a prey to horse trading, it is Avinash Pandey. His deft handling and capacity to maintain poise and balance in the hour of crisis was demonstrated amply when the Congress house appeared to be crumbling like a house of cards in Rajasthan. There can be no two opinions on the role played by Pandey in the best interest of his party.

Gehlot has thanked Pandey and described as commendable his valuable support, guidance and efforts to establish coordination between the party organisation and the State Government.

Avinash Pandey, in a statement, has expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all the Congress men of Rajasthan for their support during his tenure as State In-charge. Further, he has talked about his tenure as the Congress in-charge of the Congress organization in Rajasthan, and said it has been very satisfactory and during this time working with Chief Minister Gehlot, former state party unit chief Sachin Pilot and other senior leaders, he had a very positive experience. As a result of the unity of all Congress people, the Congress Government was formed in 2018, he has observed.

For the strength of the Congress Party in the state, all the Congress men from booth, ward, block, district to the state unit worked with full enthusiasm, Pandey has said while thanking everyone and especially party president Sonia Gandhi Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

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