Ashok Gehlot For Congress President: The Congress will begin its mega election for party president on Thursday, the first time in more than 20 years, and Shashi Tharoor is set to run after Sonia Gandhi’s nod. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is believed to be his rival, but he is reportedly not ready.
Sources close to Ashok Gehlot say he may file his nomination papers for the October 17 election next Monday, but it is taking a week to convince Rahul Gandhi to return as chief.
Sources say that Rahul Gandhi is the chief minister’s “first choice” for the top post of the party. He says he is “trying to persuade Rahul Gandhi” to contest the election before he files his nomination papers, he says.
Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot, who has faced several threats including alleged BJP “Operation Lotus” and a rebellion, has been repeatedly asked by Sonia Gandhi to take over the reins of the party.
But he is reportedly worried about handing over the chief minister’s job to his rival Sachin Pilot, say sources.
Sachin Pilot’s arrival in Delhi yesterday has sparked speculation that he may be close to getting what he has wanted for years – a shot at being the chief minister of Rajasthan, at least a year before the state votes for a new government.
But Mr. Gehlot, a powerful leader who has prevailed whenever Sachin Pilot has asked for more, is catching on. Sources say that he wants a loyalist to rule as his representative. If not, he may insist on performing both roles by taking over as working president of the Congress.
However, a section of the Congress believes that Sachin Pilot should be given a chance before the Rajasthan elections.
Congress will accept nominations till September 30. Elections for Congress President, if necessary (if there is more than one candidate) will be held on October 17. The results will be declared on October 19.
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