Wed, 21 Sep 2022 09:38 AM IST
AMID the speculations that he can contest the upcoming Congress Presidential Polls, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said that he can file nominations for the presidential polls but will first try to persuade Rahul Gandhi for the last time to take up the party's top post. In a meeting with party MLAs, Gehlot asserted that if "Rahul Gandhi does not agree to contest the presidential polls, he will have to follow the orders of the high command".
He told MLAs that they will be asked to come to New Delhi if he decides to file his nomination for the party's top post. "But he will first visit Kochi to persuade Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra there, to contest for the post".
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, Rajasthan CM said, "I will try to convince Rahul Gandhi for the last time, if he does not agree, then I will trouble you and follow the order of the high command." Soon after his announcement, many MLAs were seen requesting him to stay here. Answering them, Gehlot said, "Whatever I become, but I will not stay away from you, I will serve Rajasthan till my last breath."
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In fact, he also hinted that he shall continue as CM as he asked MLAs to start working on the Budget. "Main kahin nahin ja raha, chinta mat karo (I am not going anywhere, don't worry," Gehlot told MLAs. Ashok Gehlot reportedly doesn't want to leave the CM seat as if the Congress veteran moves to Delhi as party chief, the Chief Minister's post may go to his bitter rival Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion had almost brought down his government.
The Congress Legislature Party meeting was held after the chief minister hosted a dinner for newly elected Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar at his residence. Meanwhile, Ashok Gehlot is scheduled to visit Delhi today where he will meet some veteran leaders including Sonia Gandhi.
In the evening, he will take a tour from Delhi to Kochi where he will meet Rahul Gandhi and will join the yatra symbolically. Gehlot may try to persuade Rahul to file his nomination for the post of president. Gehlot is increasingly being seen as a top contender for the post of the party's national president.
The Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee has taken the lead in passing a resolution backing Gandhi for the post, triggering similar expressions of support from the party units in several other states including Maharashtra, Jharkhand and others.
The process of filing nominations for the organisational elections in the Congress begins on September 24 and will end on September 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19.
(With Agencies Inputs)