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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Former CM Ashok Gehlot signals ‘son rise’, gives Vaibhav green light to contest LS polls

It is believed that Vaibhav Gehlot, son of AICC general secretary and former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, could contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Sawai Madhopur parliamentary constituency.

rajasthan-elections Updated: Nov 21, 2018 14:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jodhpur
Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot during an election campaign in Joodhpur on Wednesday, November 20, 2018.
Former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot during an election campaign in Joodhpur on Wednesday, November 20, 2018.(HT Photo )
         

Former Rajasthan chief minister and All India Congress Committee general secretary Ashok Gehlot indicated on Tuesday that his son, Vaibhav Gehlot, could contest the next election. He said he had been keeping Vaibhav “away from active politics” so far but now “there is no such restriction” from his end.

It is believed that Vaibhav could contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Sawai Madhopur parliamentary constituency. He had been in the running for a ticket in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, too.

“Vaibhav first wanted to contest the election of Youth Congress state president when I was the chief minister, but I refused. Subsequently, in 2009, Vaibhav got a proposal to contest from Sawai Madhopur in the Lok Sabha elections but I refused once again,” the senior Gehlot told reporters Tuesday before setting off on the campaign for the assembly election scheduled for December 7. The former chief minister is contesting from Sardarpura assembly constituency.

“At that time, many leaders, including then state president CP Joshi, had wanted that (Vaibhav to contest) but our focus was on winning more and more seats. We did get the benefit of this eventually as the party won 20 out of 25 seats (in Rajasthan),” Gehlot said.

The former chief minister said “now it’s up to Vaibhav if he wants to contest elections”, and then added, “The party still has to decide whether to make him a candidate or not. (But) I will not have any role in this,” he told reporters.

When asked about the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the assembly polls, Gehlot said the party has “several candidates” for the post. “Our legislators and the high command (Congress’ central leadership) will decide who the chief minister will be,” he said, but listed names of Lalchand Kataria, Rameshwar Dudi, Sachin Pilot, CP Joshi, Girija Vyas and Raghu Sharma as “contenders for the post”.

When asked about rebellions and people who left the party after being denied a ticket to contest the polls, Gehlot said there were clear directions from party president Rahul Gandhi regarding the distribution of tickets, “and these have been followed”. “Youth and women have been given more representation. It is possible that many eligible and senior aspirants have not been able to get the ticket but efforts will be made to persuade everyone (to stay with the Congress) before November 22”, he said.

Gehlot added that Gandhi’s orders have been to give “important responsibilities in the organisation” to “eligible aspirants who didn’t get the ticket”.