Amid the Congress’ move to keep its MLAs and supporting legislators together to protect them from horse-trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections to four seats in Rajasthan, resentment among some of them has come out in the open. While over 80 MLAs, including some of the independents, have reached a hotel in Udaipur, State Minister Rajendra Gudha, SC Commission Chairman and MLA Khiladi Bairwa and MLA Girraj Singh Malinga expressed their displeasure in Jaipur.
Gudha is among the six MLAs who had won the 2018 assembly elections as BSP candidates and then defected to the Congress in 2019.
“The MLAs did not get the respect they deserved,” he told reporters in Jaipur. Gudha said Udaipur is a good city to visit but not for getting locked up at a hotel.
Targeting AICC general secretary in-charge for Rajasthan Ajay Maken, he said the Congress leader had made some commitment to him but failed to keep it. “Commitments should be fulfilled in politics.” Besides Gudha, the other five MLAs are Lakhan Meena, Deepchand Kheria, Sandeep Yadav, Joginder Awana and Wajib Ali. None of them went to the party camp in Udaipur.
Senior Congress MLA and SC Commission Chairman Khiladi Lal Bairwa also expressed displeasure, saying when MLAs were holed up for 34 days during the political crisis in 2020, it was said that every one of them would get respect.
“But for one-and-a-half years, no one even asked us how we were,” he said.
Bairwa said all those MLAs who stayed at the hotel for 34 days had helped save the government. “During the cabinet reshuffle last year, those who were already ministers were promoted but what was the fault of the remaining MLAs who were not made ministers,” he asked. “Justice was not done to us. The promises made were not fulfilled. Because of this, we are pained,” Bairwa said. He, however, asserted that he is a “true Congressman” and will vote for the Congress only.
Congress MLA from Bari (Dholpur) Girraj Singh Malinga, who was arrested recently for allegedly thrashing electricity department engineers, said he was rewarded for his role in saving the government in 2020 in the form of a police case.
“The reward of my loyalty is the police case. The case was registered in a matter with which I have nothing to do,” he said.
Congress leaders claim 126 MLAs, including 108 of the party itself, are with them. It requires a total of 123 votes to win three seats. The party has fielded Mukul Wasnik, Randeep Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari, all from outside the state. The BJP has fielded one official candidate, Ghanshyam Tiwari, and has backed media baron Subhash Chandra who has filed his nomination as an Independent