Day after meeting Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday confirmed that he will be running for Congress president and will fix a nomination date soon. Earlier, he had called upon all the legislators from the party to be present at the time of filing his nomination paper in New Delhi. Revealing details of his meeting with the former Congress president, Gehlot told reporters that Rahul had made it clear to him that no one from the Gandhi family will be running for the party’s top post.
“I repeatedly requested him to honour the wishes of the Congress workers and lead the party. But, he told me that no one from his family would become the next leader of the party,” Gehlot said.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) indicated to me that his wish was to see a non-Gandhi leading the party. He further told me that he respects the wishes of the workers but there is a reason why someone apart from the family should become the next president,” Gehlot said.
Confirming that he will run for the party’s top post, Gehlot said, “Its decided — I will be contesting. This is about party democracy. This is a new beginning. I hope that the opposition stands united and is able to fix the deteriorating condition of the country. We will leave no stones unturned. All of us, including the Congress contestants for the top post and the workers, should work towards strengthening the party from block level to districts and villages. We will stick to our ideology while trying to move forward and come out as a strong opposition.”
When asked about resigning as the Rajasthan Chief Minister in line with the party’s ‘one-person, one-post’ rule, Gehlot said, “General Secretary-in-charge for Rajasthan Ajay Maken and Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi will decide what process is to be followed when or if I become the president.”
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was the first to declare his intentions of running for the top post. However, several senior leaders like Manish Tewari and Digvijaya Singh have also expressed their interest for the same, turning the internal elections into a fascinating multi-cornered contest. The nomination window will be open till September 30, with October 8 being the last date to withdraw nomination for the October 17 polls.