Senior Congress leader KC Venugopal on Thursday said that the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi will decide on whether Ashok Gehlot will continue as the Rajasthan Chief Minister “in a day or two”. Soon after Gehlot declared that he will not run for the Congress president, Venugopal met with Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence in the national capital. The remarks came following his meeting with Gandhi.
Barely a year to go for the state assembly elections, all eyes will now be on Gandhi’s decision — whether Gehlot would continue or if former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who has been the frontrunner for the CM’s post, will be given a chance. Pilot is expected to meet Gandhi later today.
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Gehlot’s decision to rule himself out of the Congress presidential race came amid the political uncertainty prevailing in Rajasthan ever since he had earlier announced his now-withdrawn decision to run for the party’s top post. Swearing allegiance to Gehlot, his aides staged a rebellion against Congress’ central leaders and put forth few conditions on who will be an acceptable CM face, in case Gehlot becomes the next Congress chief. Gehlot’s aides became even more adamant in their stance after they got an inkling that the Congress leadership was tilting towards Pilot.
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Gehlot, maintaining that he had no idea about the rebellion, has apologised to Gandhi and even offered to step down from the CM’s post, according to few reports. The tables seemed to have turned against Gehlot ever since his aides led by state minister Shanti Dhariwal held a parallel meeting of the Rajasthan Congress MLAs at his residence instead of attending the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting called by state observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken on Sunday.
To both the Congress leaders’ dismay, at least 90 legislators tendered their resignation to Speaker CP Joshi, protesting against the Congress high command’s possible move to elevate Pilot to the CM post.