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Gehlot stamp on first Congress list

The Congress’s first list of candidates for the Rajasthan assembly elections, released on Wednesday, makes it clear the central leadership has given importance to former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, reports Nagendar Sharma.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2008 00:25 IST
Nagendar Sharma

The Congress’s first list of candidates for the Rajasthan assembly elections, released on Wednesday, makes it clear the central leadership has given importance to former chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

The list of 116 includes almost all of Gehlot’s ministerial colleagues, when he ruled the state between 1998 and 2003.

With this list, the Congress — which normally doesn’t declare its CM candidate before the polls — has given sufficient hints that in case it is voted to power, Gehlot would get the top slot. Gehlot, who has been keeping a low profile, wasn’t willing to discuss the matter before the December 4 polls.

For the record, the Congress said tickets were decided after careful scrutiny and “there was no question of any faction having scored over the other”. Spokesman Manish Tiwari said: “The CM is always elected by the MLAs; we can’t take away their right.”

Gehlot’s influence is visible in the list with the high command clearing all 10 candidates in his home district Jodhpur even as other leaders are struggling.

Brahmin leaders B.D. Kalla and C.P. Joshi are yet to set their houses in order in Bikaner and Rajsamand. Jat leaders Harender Mirdha and Narain Singh, too, are hoping to see the names of their supporters in the second list.