The Congress will contest the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly polls under the stewardship of party President Rahul Gandhi and without declaring a chief ministerial candidate, a party leader said on Thursday.
The Congress will contest the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly polls under the stewardship of party President Rahul Gandhi and without declaring a chief ministerial candidate, a party leader said on Thursday. The decision is perceived as a blow to Rajasthan’s senior party leader and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who held the post from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2008 to 2013. The issue was discussed at a meeting here of state Congress leaders with Rahul Gandhi, attended by Gehlot, state Congress chief Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Congress Legislature Party leader Rameshwar Lal Dudi and former Union Minister Bhanwar Jitendra Singh.Talking to IANS after the meeting, Congress General Secretary and incharge of Rajasthan’s party affairs Avinash Pande said the state leaders assured Gandhi of keeping aside their differences and unitedly fighting the coming elections. “Elections will be fought under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. No CM candidate will be declared. After the elections, the MLAs will elect the Chief Minister and the high command will take a decision,” Pandey told IANS. He said all senior state leaders, including Gehlot, have assured Gandhi of jointly campaigning in the state and making it a success.
The meeting was convened by the Congress chief to sort out differences among senior party leaders like Gehlot, Pilot, Singh and former Union Minister C.P. Joshi. Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot told IANS that the meeting was held to discuss the roadmap ahead of the Assembly elections and chart out a campaign strategy. According to Congress sources, the party has finalised slogans like “Hamara agenda, Congress ka jhanda”. The party has also finalised a flagship organisational programme “Mera booth, mera gaurav” and pledged to make it successful and discussed how to make it a success. In Gujarat, the Congress contested the Assembly polls without declaring its chief ministerial candidate. Instead, Rahul Gandhi was at the forefront of the party’s campaign in the western state.
In a bitterly fought contest in Gujarat, the Congress could not manage to capture power though it raised its MLA tally from 61 to 78 in the new house. The Congress won byelections to the two parliamentary constituencies of Alwar and Ajmer and the Assembly constituency of Mandalgarh in Rajasthan held in January. In four years, the Congress has won 20 of the 22 Assembly byelections.