Ashok Gehlot to contest for Congress president poll; speculations, lobbying start for next CM of Rajasthan

The leaders and MLAs close to Sachin Pilot have started talks with Congress MLAs of all factions.

Manish GodhaUpdated: Friday, September 23, 2022, 02:56 PM IST
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Ashok Gehlot to contest for Congress president poll; speculations, lobbying starts for next CM of Rajasthan | Photo: ANI

As Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has announced his intention to contest the Congress president election and also hinted at quitting the post of CM, speculation and lobbying have started for the new CM of the state.

The leaders and MLAs close to Sachin Pilot have started talks with Congress MLAs of all factions. These include those MLAs who were once considered his staunch opponents.

The Congress party has 107 seats in the Rajasthan Assembly, including 6 MLAs from BSP, who joined Congress in 2019.

At the time of his rebel act in July 2020, Sachin Pilot had the support of just 20 MLAs, and the number has not increased till now, so most of the MLAs are still with CM Ashok Gehlot.

The sources in the party said although it seems that Sachin has the support of the party high-command, there is a buzz that Gehlot has suggested the name of Rajasthan Assembly speaker Dr CP Joshi as his successor.

In such a case, if a situation arises of headcount in the meeting of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP), it will be difficult for Sachin to prove his strength. That’s the reason his supporters have started lobbying for him, and the good news for them has come from the 6 MLAs of BSP.

The leader of these MLAs and a minister in the government, Rajendra Gudha has made a public statement to respect the decision of the high command to make anyone, including Pilot the CM.

"We are with the decision of the Congress party command. Even if it chooses Bharosi Lal Jatav (a minister), we’ll support him," said Gudha.

It is to be mentioned here that these 6 MLAs have always stood firm with Gehlot at the time of any political crisis, but this time the case could be different.

Some more MLAs are expected to come out in support of Sachin, especially those who have expressed their displeasure with various government decisions during the last few months. These include the chairman of the Scheduled Casts Commission and MLAs Khiladi Lal Bairwa and Girraj Singh Malinga.  

Supporters of Pilot said that the party's MLAs go with the decision of the party's high command. "We are confident that the party high-command will decide in favour of Sachin Pilot and he will be elected as CLP leader unanimously," said a Pilot loyalist MLA.

Sachin Pilot trending on Twitter

In the meantime, Sachin Pilot's supporters have become active on social media too, and the hashtag # SachinPilot continued to trend on Twitter. At the same time, the pro-Pilot MLAs have appealed to the well-wishers to remain calm.

Pilot camp MLA Vedprakash Solanki tweeted – All are requested to have patience and restraint. The truth will prevail and our leader, Sachin Pilot will get the result of his hard work. We have full faith in the high command, so no one should post anything unnecessary on social media.

It is said that Pilot has instructed the supporting MLAs and leaders to stay away from any kindof political rhetoric.

The nomination will be a show of strength

The nomination of Ashok Gehlot is also expected to be a show of strength. Gehlot is expected to file his nomination on September 28, for which the leaders close to Gehlot have started messaging the supporters and MLAs. They are being asked to reach Delhi on the day of his nomination, Gehlot had himself asked for this in the CLP meeting held on Tuesday night. The Deputy Chief Whip of the CLP Mahendra Choudhary said that all Congress MLAs will go to Delhi for the nomination of Gehlot, though Choudhary is still confident that Gehlot will present his last budget next year.

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