National Politics

Ashok Gehlot Out Of INC President Race As High Command Fumes Over ‘Indiscipline’: Sources


A day after dramatic turn of events in Rajasthan politics ahead of Congress President elections, which saw  a rebellion by more than 90 MLAs loyal to CM Gehlot, the senior party leader has been ruled out of the election for the party’s top post, NDTV reported.

As per sources, leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are now in the race for the Presidential election of the grand old party.

After Congress’ declaration at Udaipur regarding ‘one person, one post’ policy, the party had announced the schedule for the organisational election. Ashok Gehlot was considered the top runner for the post, with Gandhis reportedly backing the veteran leader. Mr Gehlot’s elevation to the President would have resulted in him resigning from the post of CM, as Rahul Gandhi stressed on the Udaipur declaration when asked about it. Mr Gehlot, after Mr Gandhi’s statement, had agreed to resign as Chief Minister.

On Sunday, the Congress high command had sent two central observers- Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken- to formally announce the transition at a meeting of MLAs at Mr Gehlot’s home. However, only about 20 to 25 MLAs showed up at Mr Gehlot’s home. Majority of Congress MLAs, instead of attending the CLP meeting at Gehlot’s home, showed up at a different meeting at the home of Shanti Dhariwal, a minister close to Mr Gehlot.

After the meeting at Mr Dhariwal’s home, the MLAs took a special bus to speaker CP Joshi’s  house and threatened to resign if Mr Gehlot was replaced as Chief Minister by his rival Sachin Pilot, who had led a rebellion against the Mr Gehlot government in 2020 but had to return to party fold after the high command reportedly assured him of the CM post in following years.

However, the MLAs who met the speaker refused to meet with the two central leaders individually, in a direct confrontation with orders of party President Sonia Gandhi. The MLAs also put fore conditions that included choosing a new Chief Minister only after the Congress president election. They also demanded that no one from the MLAs who rebelled in 2020 should be made the CM, and Mr Gehlot should have a say in choosing his successor.

Though three ministers close to the CM had engineered the the rebellion, Mr Gehlot denied any link to it, citing his visit to a shrine near the India-Pakistan border that morning where there was no phone reception. Mr Gehlot reportedly told the central leaders: “Nothing is in my hands. The MLAs are angry.”

The central leadership did not believe that Mr Gehlot had no role in the drama that unfolded in Rajasthan, as 92 MLAs could not threaten resignation without his support and encouragement.

Mr Gehlot has reportedly apologised for what happened. However the INC’s central leadership has taken a “serious view” of indiscipline by one of its senior most leaders.




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