Confusion over Rajasthan CM post amid Congress internal turmoil

Updated on Sep 30, 2022 07:03 AM IST

Gehlot’s rival, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, met Gandhi in Delhi late on Thursday and later said that the party had to work together to win the state polls in 2023. Pilot has previously unsuccessfully laid claim to the chief minister’s chair.

Gehlot’s rival, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, met Gandhi in Delhi late on Thursday and later said that the party had to work together to win the state polls in 2023.(file image)
Gehlot’s rival, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, met Gandhi in Delhi late on Thursday and later said that the party had to work together to win the state polls in 2023.(file image)
By, New Delhi

Confusion prevailed over the Rajasthan chief minister’s position on Thursday after Ashok Gehlot said Congress chief Sonia Gandhi would take a call on whether he will continue in the state’s top job, even as the party attempted to project a united face after an unprecedented rebellion exposed deep dissidence.

Gehlot commands the support of an overwhelming majority of the party’s lawmakers in Rajasthan, apart from independents and smaller parties. Congress lawmakers close to him numbered 92 ( the majority mark in the state assembly is 101) when they defied the central leadership’s wishes on Sunday evening. His government also has the support of several independents and legislators from smaller parties for a comfortable majority.

Gehlot’s rival, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, met Gandhi in Delhi late on Thursday and later said that the party had to work together to win the state polls in 2023. Pilot has previously unsuccessfully laid claim to the chief minister’s chair.

“I met Congress president today. She listened to me calmly. We held a detailed discussion on whatever happened in Jaipur, Rajasthan. I told her my sentiments, my feedback.All of us want to win the 2023 polls (in Rajasthan) by working hard. We’ll have to work together,” Pilot said.

“Whatever decision has to be made in the context of Rajasthan, will be taken by her (Sonia). I am confident that in the next 12-13 months we will once again make a Congress government through our hard work,” he added.

An MLA close to Pilot claimed that earlier Rahul Gandhi had praised his patience, and he is expected to be rewarded.

Earlier in the day, Gehlot also met Gandhi at her residence and later said that she will decide on his chief ministership, even as he tended an apology for the rebellion by lawmakers close to him over the weekend.

Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation, KC Venugopal, who was also present during Gandhi’s meeting with Gehlot, later said that she will decide the Rajasthan leadership issue in “one or two days”.

Removing Gehlot from the CM’s chair, however, will be extremely difficult as Gehlot enjoys the backing of a sweeping majority in the party’s legislative wing and lawmakers and experts said the party might split in Rajasthan if the high command tries to push Gehlot out. Lawmakers close to Gehlot are opposed to the elevation of Pilot to the state’s top job because of the younger leader’s rebellion against the CM in 2020.

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