Raghu Sharma’s appointment confirms Gehlot’s closeness to the high command.
New Delhi: The appointment of Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma as in-charge of Gujarat has made it clear that the Gandhi family continues to fully trust Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Sharma was given this responsibility at the recommendation of Gehlot only.
This also paves way for Gehlot’s key role in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections which are due to be held in October next year. It may be recalled that Gehlot as in-charge of Gujarat made the state elections quite interesting in 2017. Then, the BJP was in trouble. It was a controversial statement from senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar that queered Congress’ pitch at that time. The high command wants the Rajasthan Team to work in Gujarat this time as well. This way, Gehlot’s role will be quite important.
Now, Gehlot will carry out cabinet reshuffle soon after Sharma’s new charge. He will also make political appointments. Those who rebelled against the government last year will not be given much importance. Some of them are still making statements damaging to the party’s image.
According to sources, the high command has received some documents against some of the rebels in which financial matters have come to light. The Congress had accused BJP of bribing its MLAs to topple the government in Rajasthan last year. It was alleged that a huge amount of money exchanged hands at that point of time. Even an audio clip also surfaced then. So, documents related to the same are said to have reached the high command.
Last year, over a dozen MLAs led by Sachin Pilot had turned rebels. A cautious CM Ashok Gehlot managed to save the government. With the number of MLAs falling short of achieving the goal, the BJP also distanced itself from rebels later. After the mission failed, most MLAs staged a comeback. The leadership softened its stand on rebels, but a probe was done, as a result of which the revelation of bribery came up. The high command remained silent due to absence of solid proof. But dissidents continued their statements critical of the government. After removal of Captain Amarinder Singh, an atmosphere was created that a change of guard will be done in Rajasthan as well. Gehlot’s sickness was also linked to the speculation about change. After recovery, Gehlot got into action and controlled the situation. He advised Amarinder Singh not to take any action that could damage the party. It was an indication that Gehlot was in complete touch with the high command. New Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi announced his visit to Jaipur, though he could not make it due to some unavoidable reasons. The development regarding Raghu Sharma’s appointment as Gujarat in charge is a testimony to Gehlot being in high command’s good books. Sharma is considered close to Gehlot. After the new charge, Sharma will quit the ministerial post.
Now, Gehlot will reshuffle his team soon. The leaders who supported the government during the crisis will be given importance. So, it is clear that Ashok Gehlot will continue to play a key role in both Rajasthan and Delhi.