Congress calls CLP meet today; call on next Rajasthan CM likely
The Congress has convened a legislative council meeting of its Rajasthan MLAs at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence in Jaipur at 7 pm on Sunday, to conduct a discussion on the possible elevation of Sachin Pilot as the next chief minister.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has appointed Mallikarjun Kharge as observer along with general secretary in-charge Rajasthan Ajay Maken. They will attend the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, AICC general secretary organisation K C Venugopal said on Saturday.
Gehlot, who is one of the contenders for the Congress president’s post, had resisted to participate in the elections as it meant he would lose his position as Rajasthan Chief Minister. However, he relented after Rahul Gandhi clarified that the Congress would follow the ‘one man, one post’ mantra.
This would make way for Sachin Pilot, who had rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership in 2020, to be chief minister.
Earlier in the day, Maken met Sonia Gandhi and discussed issues related to Rajasthan in detail. This is the second CLP meeting within a week. The last meeting was held on September 20.
Sources said the leadership of the government going forward, if Gehlot is elected as party chief, is likely to be on the meeting agenda.
Gehlot became the first person to announce his candidature for the AICC presidential poll on Friday and said former president Rahul Gandhi has told him that no one from the Gandhi family should become the next party chief. The chief minister also said that the call on his successor will be taken by Sonia Gandhi and Maken.
Talking to reporters in Kochi, Gehlot had said, “I will fix the date (to submit the nomination papers) after going back (to Rajasthan), but I have decided that I will have to contest. It is a question of democracy and let us make a new start.”
Later in the day, Gehlot told reporters in Shirdi that the debate on “one man, one post” is unnecessary and that he would like to serve the people of his state all his life.
He also said his statements on wanting to serve the people of Rajasthan are being interpreted in different ways.
Interestingly, Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Friday met Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi amid speculations of a change of guard in the state. Pilot had met Joshi in his chamber in the state Assembly, where several party MLAs were also present. According to party sources, Pilot is the main contender for the chief minister’s post but Joshis name is also doing the rounds. Joshi is a former state Congress president and was a contender for the post in 2008 but lost the Assembly elections by one vote at that time.
After over two decades, the Congress is set to see a contest for the post of party chief with Gehlot, who has announced his candidature, expected to take on Shashi Tharoor, who had the nomination forms collected from AICC headquarters in Delhi on Saturday.
According to a notification issued by the party on Thursday, the process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30. The date for scrutiny of the nomination papers is October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The final list of candidates will be published at 5 pm on October 8. The polling, if needed, will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will be taken up on October 19 and the results will be declared the same day.
(With inputs from agencies)