Last Updated: January 23, 2023, 07:30 IST
The budget session of the Rajasthan state assembly will begin on Monday amid the ongoing power tussle between Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. Governor Kalraj Mishra will address the assembly at 11 am and Chief Minister Gehlot is likely to announce freebies and populist measures with an eye on assembly elections this year.
Apart from Gehlot, Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Chief Secretary Usha Sharma and Principal Secretary (Legislative Assembly) Mahavir Prasad Sharma will welcome Mishra upon his arrival, a PTI report said.
At a pre-budget meeting Gehlot had with the representatives of employees’ union on Wednesday, Gehlot allegedly compared Sachin Pilot to “coronavirus”. Responding to one of the participants during the meeting, Gehlot without naming anyone said, “I have started meeting…earlier corona came…a big corona also entered our party.”
With power dynamics majorly sour between Gehlot and Pilot, fireworks are expected at the Budget Session. Infighting has continued between the two, despite attempts to solve the matter and rare ocassions where the two showed unity.
Ahead of state assembly elections in Rajasthan this year, indications are that Gehlot may continue as CM till polls but there is suspense over what could Pilot’s next move.
In his daily public meetings since Monday in different districts, Pilot has been targeting the state government over the issues of paper leaks, sidelining party workers and political appointments to retired bureaucrats.
The power tussle had seemed to have thawed briefly during the Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Rajasthan leg, but resumed within days of the march crossing the state with the two leaders sparring again.
Pilot is addressing ‘Kisan Sammelans’ in different districts, in which he is talking about how the party was able to form the government in 2018 after a five-year struggle on road when he was the party’s state unit chief.
In his remarks at the rallies, Pilot has cornered the Gehlot government over issues such as the repeated paper leaks and political appointments of retired bureaucrats while sidelining party workers.
At the same time, the demand from the Pilot camp to make him chief minister has also started again with leaders loyal to him openly calling for him being given the top job in the state ahead of the elections later this year.
Gehlot and Pilot have been in a power tussle ever since the Congress formed the government in December 2018.
Notably, Gehlot will present his fifth and final budget on February 8.
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