Gehlot-Joshi feud comes out in open

While Rajasthan’s ruling Congress is geared up to kick off the 11th phase of the party’s Sandesh Yatra from eastern Rajasthan on Thursday, a factional feud has resurfaced in the party.
Though chief minister Ashok Gehlot and CWC member C.P. Joshi have been at loggerheads for the last four years, this is the first time that Mr Joshi has directly attacked his rival in state politics.
Newly-appointed AICC general secretary and leader in charge of Rajasthan Gurudas Kamat got a whiff of the factional feud in Rajasthan when party leaders and officer-bearers held an executive meeting in Jaipur on Tuesday. Mr Joshi went to such extent that he was not ready to participate in the meeting, Finally, Mr Kamat had to ask him to be present. The animosity between the two leaders could be seen in Mr Joshi’s absence from the party’s much hyped Sandesh Yatra. Since March 30, 2013, when the yatra was flagged off from Jaipur, Mr Joshi maintained a distance from the yatra. But party sources said Mr Joshi will be present when the yatra enters his parliamentary constituency of Bhilwara. The yatra has so far covered 100 Assembly segments spread across 29 districts, but Mr Joshi was not the only one missing from the road show; some other Congress leaders, too, avoided the yatra.
Sources said Mr Joshi clarified at the PCC meeting that he was no longer a camp follower but a collaborator. He questioned Mr Gehlot’s style of functioning and asked him to take others along with him. Mr Joshi, who has been considered close to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, cautioned that one should not run the party with a single hand.
Addressing the CM, Mr Joshi said, “Aap sarva manya neta hain. Indiraji aur Rajivji ka aap par vishvas raha hai, ab Soniaji ka bhi vishwas hasil hai (You are an acceptable leader to all of us. You won the late Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s trust, and now you have obtained the trust of Sonia Gandhi). The high command is expecting so much from Rajasthan. In view of that, you should ensure help and cooperation from all and sundry,” opined Mr Joshi.
Sources said though PCC president Dr Chandarbhan was also present at the meeting, Mr Joshi addressed only the CM. Mr Joshi, a former Union minister, was an aspirant for the Rajasthan chief ministership in 2008 during the Assembly elections. But he lost the opportunity when he was defeated from his traditional seat of Nathdwara by a single vote. His followers blamed the CM for his defeat.

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