New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday night issued a show-cause notice to three Ashok Gehlot loyalists - Rajasthan ministers Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi, and Dharmendra Rathore - for their "grave indiscipline" and asked them to explain within 10 days why action should not be initiated against them.
The action came two days after 82 MLAs participated in a parallel meeting at Dhariwal's residence in Jaipur laying down conditions to the party and did not attend the official legislature party meeting convened for passing a resolution authorizing the Congress chief to appoint a successor to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who was to contest the Congress presidential election.
The party's disciplinary committee sent the notices after Congress observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken submitted their written report to party chief Sonia Gandhi charging the three state leaders with "gross indiscipline".
Reacting to the development, Joshi said he was yet to receive the notice and once he gets it, a satisfactory reply would be given.
"We are soldiers of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. We have fought for truth and justice and will fight further...And will do whatever we think is in the interest of the party," Joshi said.
The Congress disciplinary panel's member secretary Tariq Anwar in the notice to Dhariwal, Joshi, and Rathore, referred to Maken's report.
"Prima facie, the above charges are an act of grave indiscipline. Therefore, this show cause notice is being issued seeking your reply within 10 days as to why disciplinary action not be taken against you as per the provisions of the constitution of the Indian National Congress," the notice to all three leaders read.
Anwar in his notice to Dhariwal said that the observers' report has submitted that as the parliamentary affairs minister he sits on the dais and is a prominent speaker at all CLP meetings in Rajasthan.
Apart from issuing statements, he has committed grave indiscipline by hosting a parallel MLAs' meeting at his residence "pressuring them not to attend the official meeting", the notice read.
"As parliamentary affairs minister, hosting the unofficial meeting confused the Congress MLAs as to which one was convened officially.
"This happened even when Shri Kharge and Shri Maken repeatedly clarified that they have come here to speak to each MLA individually and impartially report to Congress President. No decision would be made in haste. After knowing the views of MLAs, Congress President will discuss them with everyone and take a well-considered decision," the notice said.
Rajasthan PHED Minister Mahesh Joshi was told that he, being the Chief Whip, officially informed every Congress MLA for the meeting slated to be held at 7 PM on September 25 at the chief minister's residence.
"You as Chief Whip have conducted grave indiscipline on two counts. Boycotting the official CLP meeting, even after you had informed (given notice) every Congress MLA to attend it, and by participating and convening a parallel meeting of the MLAs at the time when officially appointed observers were waiting for the official meeting to start.
"As Chief Whip your presence at the unofficial and illegal meeting confused the MLAs as to which one was convened officially, the notice to Joshi said.
In his notice to Rathore, who is the chairman of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, Anwar said he "made all logistical arrangements and were behind the entire planning of the unofficial meeting of the MLAs, held parallel to the official Rajasthan CLP meeting" which is an act of "grave indiscipline".