An unease has set in the Rajasthan Congress with its senior leader Ajay Maken quitting as the state in-charge ahead of the assembly polls scheduled next year, with party sources saying that he has been asked to continue on the post.
The Congress general secretary is reportedly peeved at the party leadership for not taking any action against the rebel leaders who held a parallel Congress legislature party meeting in Jaipur on September 25.
Maken had recommended stern disciplinary action against them as he failed to get a one-line resolution passed authorising the Congress president to appoint a successor to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
Maken said that he has asked the Congress leadership to relieve him from the post of in-charge of Rajasthan Congress six months ago to enable him to concentrate on Delhi to counter the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Arvind Kejriwal through NGOs and trade unions.
He had expressed his unwillingness to continue in the post and asked for his replacement in the wake of the developments that took place on September 25 in Jaipur.
Instead, Gehlot has assigned key roles to the three rebel legislators -- ministers Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi besides state Tourism Development Corporation chairman Dharmendra Rathore -- during the Bharat Jodo Yatra which enters the desert state in the first week of December.
A bitter battle is already on between Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, who has been urging the leadership for anointing him as the chief minister, a move opposed by a large number of MLAs in the state.
With the Congress failing to take action against the MLAs in question, the crisis in Rajasthan has deepened further.
Sources also said the party has not taken any decision on Maken's November 8 letter to party president Mallikarjun Kharge, expressing his "unwillingness" to continue as the in-charge for Rajasthan.
They added that Maken has also met Kharge and explained to him his position and told him to re-convene a meeting of the CLP soon besides initiating action against the rebel MLAs.
Sources said Maken also told Kharge that his position would become untenable after the said MLAs were assigned key roles in the organisation for Bharat Jodo Yatra.
"I had requested the leadership several months ago (in April) to relieve me from Rajasthan so that I can work in Delhi through NGOs and trade unions," Maken told PTI when asked about the reasons for quitting the post.
Maken and Kharge had gone to Jaipur as central observers for holding a meeting of the Congress legislature party (CLP) in September amid charges and counter-charges by both factions in favour of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot.
The CLP meeting could not take place, but some MLAs considered loyal to the chief minister, held a separate meeting at the residence of state minister Shanti Dhariwal, who opposed Pilot as Gehlot's successor in Rajasthan.
At that time, Maken had failed to convene a meeting of MLAs to pass a one-line resolution to authorise the Congress president to appoint a new leader in Rajasthan.
Gehlot had apologised publicly later for failing to get the resolution passed and opted out of the race for the Congress president after meeting then party chief Sonia Gandhi.