Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Thursday said that he will not contest the upcoming Congress presidential election. Gehlot made his decision public after meeting party president Sonia Gandhi at the latter’s residence.
The meeting comes amid speculation over whether Gehlot would file his nomination for the Congress president’s election after the crisis in Rajasthan. Gehlot arrived at Gandhi’s residence prior to the scheduled meeting time.
Speaking to reporters, Gehlot said he has always been a disciplined soldier of the Congress and that he will not contest the presidential poll in view of the recent developments in Rajasthan.
“It was my moral responsibility that the resolution should have been passed (in the CLP). So I have decided that I won’t contest (party president) election in these circumstances. It is my decision,” he said following the meeting.
When asked about whether he would continue as the Rajasthan CM, Gehlot said that Sonia Gandhi will decide on the matter. “I felt sorry, have apologised to Sonia Gandhi for developments in Rajasthan,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Earlier, while talking to reporters, Gehlot said internal issues that have cropped up within the party ahead of the election will be resolved soon. He said the party has internal discipline, which helped it “survive the decline in Lok Sabha numbers” and that it continues to be a national party. “There is discipline in the party under Soniaji,” he said.
On Sunday, the MLAs backing Gehlot had skipped the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting convened by the party’s high command and tendered their resignations to Assembly Speaker CP Joshi. While the legislators on the CM’s side have been vocal, those in the Pilot camp have not yet publicly commented on the tussle. The Congress had on Tuesday issued a showcause notice to Gehlot loyalists Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Dharmendra Rathore.
With Friday the last date for filing nominations, Congress leaders are in hectic discussions to resolve the political conundrum that has everyone guessing – who all will contest the election for party president.
Meanwhile, in a fresh twist to the Congress presidential election saga, veteran party leader Digvijaya Singh confirmed that he is throwing his hat in the ring in race for Congress president.