Ashok Gehlot Ruled Out: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been dismissed as Congress president after over 90 Rajasthan MLAs loyal to him harassed the Gandhi family. Leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are now in the race.
Ashok Gehlot Ruled Out: Sources said the Congress leadership is angry with Ashok Gehlot for plotting a rebellion that has put the party to shame amid Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra”. Sources said the refusal of 71-year-old Gandhi to step down as the chief minister of Rajasthan has angered the leadership.
Mr Gehlot, 71, had agreed to resign from the chief minister’s post ahead of his promotion as Congress president after Rahul Gandhi made it clear that he needed a dual role in view of the Congress’ “one man, one post” policy. Role will not be allowed.
The formal announcement of changes in Rajasthan was to be made at a meeting of MLAs at Mr. Gehlot’s residence on Sunday. The time and place was decided by the Chief Minister, according to Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge, who attended the meeting as central observers.
Ashok Gehlot Ruled Out: However, only 20 to 25 MLAs appeared at Mr. Gehlot’s house. Most of the Congress MLAs attended a separate meeting at the house of Minister Shanti Dhariwal, close to Mr. Gehlot.
After that meeting, he took a special bus to the speaker’s house and threatened to resign if Mr Gehlot was replaced as chief minister by his rival Sachin Pilot, who had rebelled against him in 2020.
The legislators refused to meet in person with the two central leaders, openly defying party president Sonia Gandhi, and stipulating conditions that included electing a new chief minister only after the Congress president’s election. If Mr. Gehlot becomes the Congress President, it will be a conflict of interest as he will have the right to choose his successor in Rajasthan.
Although three ministers close to him coordinated the rebellion, Mr Gehlot denied any part in it, citing a visit that morning to a dargah near the India-Pakistan border where there was no phone reception. “I have nothing in my hands. The MLAs are angry,” he told the central leadership.
No one in Delhi believed that without the active support and encouragement of Mr. Gehlot, the 92 MLAs could threaten mass resignation. Though Gehlot has tendered an apology, the Congress leadership has taken a “serious view” of the indiscipline by one of its most senior leaders.
The Rajasthan crisis created turmoil in the Congress Presidential elections to be held on 17 October. For the first time in more than two decades, no Gandhi is in this contest.
With Mr Gehlot, the odds-on favourite, the Congress is considering candidates like Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh. Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath’s name has also cropped up, but he met Sonia Gandhi last evening and reportedly said that he would like to focus on his state.
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