Rajasthan minister and key Gehlot-loyalist Shanti Kumar Dhariwal on Monday launched a frontal attack on Congress's state in-charge Ajay Maken, alleging that he was talking to party MLAs in a partisan manner and canvassing for Sachin Pilot.
With the bitter internal feud in the party spilling into the open, Maken, who was sent as a central observer, had earlier in the day criticised MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for placing conditions for the resolution to be taken up in the legislature party meeting on deciding the next CM.
He had also said that holding a parallel meeting and not attending the official meeting of the legislature party is "indiscipline".
Soon after Maken briefed Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the national capital about the political developments in the state, Dhariwal called a press conference at his residence in Jaipur and hit out at party general secretary Maken.
"My allegation against the general secretary and state in-charge (Maken) is that he was talking to the MLAs here in a partisan manner. For many days there were continuous reports that he used to ask for campaigning in favour of Sachin Pilot.
"He used to ask MLAs to join him (Pilot) and we have proof of this," he alleged.
The minister further said, "We are soldiers of Sonia Gandhi. I have not been accused of indiscipline even once in the last 50 years.
''If the party general secretary and in-charge has come up with a mission to make such people (who rebel against the party) as the chief minister, then the MLAs were bound to be angry."
The meeting of the Congress legislature party was to be held at the chief minister's residence on Sunday night, but many MLAs loyal to Gehlot did not attend it.
The MLAs converged at Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dhariwal's bungalow and then went to meet the speaker of the assembly Dr CP Joshi. They submitted their resignations to him, opposing any move to pick Pilot as the next chief minister.
Party observers Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge Kharge, who came to Jaipur for the legislature party meeting, kept waiting for the MLAs at the chief minister's residence and the legislature party meeting could not take place.
Both the leaders returned to New Delhi on Monday and apprised party president Sonia Gandhi about the developments.
The CLP meeting was called after Gehlot declared his candidature for the party president's post.