Ashok Gehlot Tells MLAs “Won’t Be Far”, Hint For Sachin Pilot
Here are the some developments of this big story
- Ashok Gehlot, 71, is learnt to have told Rajasthan MLAs that he will file his nomination for the Congress chief’s post but “tha soon door nahi (I will not be far from you).”
- This comes amid speculation that if the Congress veteran moves to Delhi as party chief, the Chief Minister’s post may go to Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion had almost brought down his government in 2020.
- Mr Gehlot said he will keep serving Rajasthan wherever he goes. “Main kahin nahin ja raha, chinta mat karo (I am not going anywhere, don’t worry),” he said, in a clear indication that he has no plans to give up the Chief Minister’s post.
- He told MLAs that he will meet party president Sonia Gandhi today and will fly out this evening to meet Rahul Gandhi, who is on Bharat Jodo Yatra — a Congress march from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to rally support ahead of the 2024 general election.
- Mr Gehlot has reportedly told the MLAs that he would try to convince Rahul Gandhi “one last time” to take over as the party president. Mr Gandhi stepped down from the post after Congress’ poor show in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and has refused to return since.
- Mr Gehlot’s meeting took place while Sachin Pilot was away in Kerala for Rahul Gandhi’s campaign. When he joins Rahul Gandhi later today, Mr Pilot will have left.
- According to sources, Mr Gehlot has told the Congress leadership that he wants to stay on as Rajasthan Chief Minister for some time even if he becomes the party chief, apparently to block Mr Pilot’s attempt to fill up the political vacuum.
- Sources said if he needs to move to the national capital, Mr Gehlot would want a loyalist in the power seat back home. If not, then he would want to keep both roles by taking over as working president of the Congress with Sonia Gandhi as full-time chief, it is learnt.
- Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has also got a go-ahead from Sonia Gandhi to run for party chief. While Mr Gehlot is a staunch loyalist of the Gandhi family, Mr Tharoor was part of 23 senior party leaders who demanded sweeping reforms in the party in a letter to Mrs Gandhi in 2020.
- The Congress will accept nominations for the party chief’s post till September 30. The elections are scheduled for October 17 and the results will be declared on October 19.