Cong prez poll: Rahul Gandhi makes ‘one post’ push amid Ashok Gehlot buzz

Updated on Sep 23, 2022 08:00 AM IST

Gehlot will likely face former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, although both leaders have been tight-lipped about their candidature. It was only on Thursday that Gehlot confirmed that he will file his nomination for the election. After meeting Gandhi, Gehlot confirmed that he would resign as chief minister were he to be elected party president

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. (Raj K Raj/HT file photo)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. (Raj K Raj/HT file photo)
By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday emphasised the “one person, one post” formula his party has decided to adopt, with his comments on this during a press conference coming hours before a meeting with Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot who, it was widely believed, was meeting Gandhi to explore the possibility of continuing as chief minister, even if he were to be elected the Congress president in upcoming organisational polls.

Gehlot will likely face former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, although both leaders have been tight-lipped about their candidature. It was only on Thursday that Gehlot confirmed that he will file his nomination for the election. After meeting Gandhi, Gehlot confirmed that he would resign as chief minister were he to be elected party president

Addressing a press conference in Angamaly, Gandhi said “What we decided at Udaipur, it was a commitment of the Congress party. We expect that commitment to be maintained,” referring to the Chintan Shivir (brainstorming) resolution that asked for implementation of the “one person, one post” formula at all levels of the party. Gandhi’s remarks virtually ruled out the possibility of Gehlot holding both positions — a prospect his supporters had raised.

Gehlot is expected to return to Jaipur on Friday. His supporters underlined that it’s not necessary for him to resign as soon as he files nomination and the discussion on his successor would start after he becomes the party president, suggesting that he would have a role in the decision.

A large section of the Congress leadership is backing Sachin Pilot, who too is in Kochi to participate in the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, but Gehlot’s supporters claimed that Rajasthan assembly speaker CP Joshi and education minister Bulaki Das Kalla are also possible contenders . There is no love lost between Gehlot and Pilot.

“When someone has become a Congress President in the past, he has not remained chief minister. So, if I get the chance, I will work only as Congress President,” Gehlot told Manorama News.

Gandhi, who stepped down as President after the Congress’s poor showing in the 2019 election said “whoever becomes Congress President should remember that he represents a set of Ideas, he represents a belief system and he represents a vision of India.” He added: “The Congress President is not just an organizational post, the Congress President is an ideological post. It is a belief system.”

The party on Thursday formally issued the notification for the election. If Tharoor goes ahead with his plans to contest, the party could see its first contest for the top post in two decades. In 2000, party veteran Jitendra Prasada fought against Sonia Gandhi. After he was trounced, Prasada was nominated in the CWC.

In his press conference Gandhi hit out at the BJP and the RSS . “We are not going to accept an India which is divided and hateful. We are not going to accept it.”

He added that the Congress is fighting a “machine” that has “captured the institutional framework” of the country “and has unlimited money, unlimited ability to pressurise, buy and threaten people”.

Gandhi will return to Delhi on Thursday, but party leaders clarified he would not file a nomination for the election and will resume the yatra on September 24.

“Rahul Gandhi will be coming back to Delhi tonight as there is a halt in Bharat Jodo Yatra tomorrow. On September 24, Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will rejoin the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” said a leader who asked not to be named.

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