Wednesday 7 December 2022
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PoliticsIndiaAshok Gehlot 'no longer in race': Know about the meeting that almost...

Ashok Gehlot ‘no longer in race’: Know about the meeting that almost pushed him to quitting INC

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will not file the nomination for the to become the next head of the Indian National Congress, sources said, following his serious reservations about letting go the power he enjoys in the state, Rahul Gandhi's insistence that he must take the offer and quit as chief minister and his refusal to be a rubber stamp of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

This comes amid ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan over the issue of leadership change following Gehlot’s announcement earlier that he would contest the president polls.

In between the party's Rajasthan head Ajay Maken said Ashok Gehlot had insisted his successor should not be Sachin and then retracted, attributing in the revised statement the condition to the 82 Rajasthan MLAs who have resigned in protest against replacing their leader. While legislators loyal to Gehlot have been vocal about their issues, MLAs in the Pilot camp refrained from commenting.

MLAs loyal to Ashok Gehlot have said they have put forth demands before the observers that any decision on the chief ministerial face should be taken after the party president on 19 and in consultation with Gehlot.

observers Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, who had waited in vain for all legislators to arrive for the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Sunday, were trying to persuade Ashok Gehlot loyalists to meet them one by one in an effort to defuse the political crisis.

However, several MLAs have left for their respective constituencies in view of Navratri festival, party sources said.

Over the past week, Ashok Gehlot tried all-out to avert the INC president's post, first mobilising as many as 12 Pradesh Congress Committees that passed resolutions seeking a return of Rahul Gandhi as the INC president. When that did not make Sonia Gandhi's son budge, Ashok Gehlot rushed to Kerala to persuade the boss. He said he could manage both Rajasthan as its chief minister and the party as its president. But Rahul Gandhi insisted that the 'one man one post' resolve that the party had taken in Udaipur would not be revised.

By then, Sachin had already made his presentation before the former INC president but did not get the deal he wanted, instead being offered to become the Rajasthan Congress chief while leaving the chief minister's chair for CP Joshi.

Now that is outdated information. In the latest development, the high command of the INC is upset with Ashok Gehlot. It was, sources said, Sonia Gandhi who had recommended his name, going by the unquestionable loyalty he had shown for the dynasty even in the 1990s, which was the era of PV Narasimha Rao and then Sitaram Kesri in the INC. Gehlot would be a better politician to handle tricky situations than an academic Manmohan Singh whom the party kept on the front as prime minister for 10 years while being equally loyal, the dynasty had reckoned, but that is all a calculation gone wrong now.

Sources said the meeting between Ashok Gehlot and Ambika Soni was a disaster, almost pushing the Rajasthan chief minister to a corner from where he could wriggle out only by quitting the party [the link contains today's podcast on the issue on Earshot for Firstpost].

Meanwhile, nobody in the INC is taking Shashi Tharoor seriously, another source said about the fashionable party leader associated with highfalutin English, the seminar circuit and a tendency to get carried away on social media, which had once cost her the job of MoS in the Ministry of External Affairs under SM Krishna (who later moved to the BJP).

The observers are likely to submit a report on the matter to Sonia Gandhi.

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