Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, under immense pressure to go for a cabinet expansion to accommodate Congress leader Sachin Pilot’s candidates, has cited doctor’s orders for putting it off.
Doctors have “advised the Chief Minister to avoid one-on-one meetings” because of Covid, Mr Gehlot’s aide was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
“In view of the post-Covid repercussions, as a precautionary measure on the advice of doctors, the Chief Minister is not able to meet people in person. All meetings and interactions are being done through video conference and video calls only. The doctors have said that for a month or two, he should hold meetings with the video conference only. Department meetings and review meetings are also being held through video conferencing,” the Chief Minister’s special officer Lokesh Sharma said on Monday.
For months, Mr Gehlot has resisted making the changes that his party leadership had promised in Delhi to his former Deputy-turned-rival Sachin Pilot. Based on the promise that his camp would get better representation in the government and party unit in Rajasthan, Mr Pilot had been talked out of his revolt by the Gandhis.
Any hopes of a follow-through have been dashed again by Mr Gehlot’s latest statement.
This, even after Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra said on Saturday said that a Cabinet reshuffle will take place soon and that “there is no problem within the party’s state unit”.
“Reshuffle will happen in Rajasthan. As told by Ajay Maken Ji (Congress in-charge for Rajasthan), a reshuffle will take place in the state,” Mr Dotasra told reporters here when asked about the Cabinet reshuffle.
After Jitin Prasada, a close aide of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, crossed over to the BJP last week, speculation is swirling around Mr Pilot, who is said to be in Delhi to press for demands he says have not been met for 10 months.