NEW DELHI: Congress leader Ajay Maken’s plan seems to have boomeranged on himself. After Maken was relieved of his post as Rajasthan in-charge, the question being asked now is whether he could make it to the team that Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge would constitute next year. The perception gaining ground is that Maken did commit certain political mistakes somewhere. Not only in Rajasthan, but Maken has made mistakes earlier as well. Everybody is aware how Maken was at loggerheads with the then Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. He could not handle Congress properly in Delhi, with the result that the grand old party was virtually decimated in the Assembly elections. The party could not win a single seat in Assembly or Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, with Maken as in-charge of the state. Maken had to resign after factionalism grew in Congress. Maken had declined to contest in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on health grounds. Despite all that, Rahul Gandhi included him in the team.
After Sachin Pilot’s rebellion against the Gehlot government in Rajasthan two years ago, the high command had taken some strong actions, which included dismissal of Pilot from PCC chief post and removal of Avinash Pandey as in-charge of Rajasthan. Maken was then given the post of Rajasthan in-charge. Rahul Gandhi has been upset with the rebels since then. The Gandhi scion was appreciative of the way Gehlot managed to save his government. The impression was that the high command would again show some fireworks in Rajasthan which is one of the only two states that Congress has in its kitty now. But no action was taken thereafter. Maken tried to work as if he were everything in the party. Pilot and his supporters again started targeting the Gehlot government. But Maken remained silent. Chhattisgarh was facing the similar problem but the in-charge Satish Puniya took action on time and handled the situation. The peace was brokered between CM Bhupesh Baghel and T.S. Singh Deo. But Maken allowed the situation to turn worse in Rajasthan. He did not sound any alert for the high command.
All seemed normal. Maken played the spoiler when all appeared to be settling down in Rajasthan, as Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had decided to hand over party president baton to Gehlot. A suitable CM could be in place with due process after Gehlot’s elevation. But, the question that still remains to be answered as to why a CLP meeting was suddenly convened purportedly to remove Gehlot from CM post. The incident that took place on 25 September was surprising. Maken mishandled everything. He did not really share the sentiments of the majority of MLAs with the person who had ordered him to somehow get a one-line resolution approved in the CLP meeting. As a result, Congress had to face a huge embarrassment. Analysts believe that the development exposed Maken’s political inexperience. Some elements are still involved in activities to keep Rajasthan boiling. Pilot and his supporters are trying to foment trouble in Rajasthan by making one statement or the other. Maken’s letter has also indicated that he wants volatility to continue.
However, after knowing the truth, Rahul Gandhi and Kharge are firmly behind Gehlot. As of now, there would be no action against Maken. But it will be interesting to see whether Maken would continue to be in the organisational post. Interestingly, a matter related to MCD elections has also reached Rahul Gandhi.