Rajasthan CM in his latest statement on taking part in Congress's president poll stated that he has opted out. Now the election would be between Digvijay singh and Shashi Tharoor. I've decided not to contest the elections, he told the media.
"I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi & requested him to fight in the polls (for Congress President). When he didn't accept, I said I'll contest but now with that incident (#RajasthanPoliticalCrisis), I've decided not to contest the elections."
After over an hour-long meeting with Sonia Gandhi at her residence here, Ashok Gehlot said that he was not going to contest the Congress presidential poll and the issue of Rajasthan Chief Ministership will be decided by her.
He said, "In this environment I don't want to contest and the issue of Chief Ministership will be decided by high command. Whether I remain the CM or not that will be decided by Madam... I am a loyal soldier of the Congress from Indiraji's time, whatever happened in Jaipur I have expressed regret and sadness."
Earlier, while entering Gandhi's residence at 10 Janpath, Ashok Gehlot was seen carrying a set of papers. Written on one of the papers was, "Whatever has happened is sad and he is also hurt."
Gehlot, a three-time state chief minister, described himself as a disciplined soldier of the party and expressed his sadness over the turn of events in the state.
"In the last 50 years, I have worked as a loyal Congress soldier from the time of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Sonia ji, be it becoming a central minister or state unit chief, general secretary or CM for the third time, I cannot forget that. The events that happened (on Sunday) has shaken all of us. Only I know how hurt I am because a message went that I want to remain CM," Gehlot said.
"I have apologised to Sonia ji because a simple resolution, which is our tradition and which we always pass, a situation emerged that it could not be passed. I, as a CLP leader, whatever the reasons, could not get the resolution passed," he said.
The meeting came a day ahead of the last date of nomination for the Congress presidential poll. And, ahead of this meeting, Sonia Gandhi's emissary Mukul Wasnik had met Gehlot.
Meanhwile, MLAs supporting him defied the central observers and thwarted their move to hold a meeting of party legislators. Instead, they held a parallel meet to pitch for Gehlot's continuation or the guarantee that his bete noire Sachin Pilot does not replace him.
However, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh will file nomination for the post of the party president for which election is scheduled to be held on October 17.
Sources close to Singh have said that the decision to contest the polls was his personal one, and none from the Gandhi family has asked him to do so.
Congress' initial plan was to field Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for the top party post but the high-octane drama in Rajasthan has miffed the Gandhis.
Singh, who is likely to file his nomination for the Congress president's post on Friday, met Shashi Tharoor, who said they agreed that theirs is "not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest" among colleagues.
Singh met the party MP from Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday after collecting nomination papers for the polls.
"Received a visit from Digvijaya Singh this afternoon. I welcome his candidacy for the Presidency of our Party," Tharoor said in a tweet.
"We both agreed that ours is not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest among colleagues. All we both want is that whoever prevails, @incIndia will win!" he said.
Tharoor has already declared that he will file his nomination for the post of Congress president on Friday, the last day of the nomination process.
Polling for the post will take place on October 17 while the result will be announced on October 19.