Congress President’s Election: Has Ashok Gehlot Shot Himself In The Foot?

New Delhi: Even before Congress declared the date for the party’s presidential election, Ashok Gehlot’s name was doing the rounds.

As long as a month ago, the buzz in political circles was that interim president Sonia Gandhi had offered the plum post to the incumbent Rajasthan chief minister.

The scenario has changed dramatically amid a raging political crisis and infighting in Rajasthan. So much so that members of Congress Working Committee (CWC) — the party’s top decision-making body — reportedly told Sonia on Monday to withdraw Gehlot from the next president’s race.

Trouble erupted late on Sunday night when around 90 MLAs of the Gehlot faction told national observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge they would resign if not allowed to pick a chief minister of their choice. Sachin Pilot, who had led a rebellion against Gehlot two years ago, or any of his loyalists was not acceptable to them, the MLAs declared.

Their stand angered CWC members, who complained to Sonia, reported ANI.

“He (Ashok Gehlot) is out of the Congress president’s race. There will be other leaders who will file nomination form before September 30. Mukul Wasnik, Mallikarjun Kharge, Digvijaya Singh, KC Venugopal are in the race,” India Today quoted a Congress leader as saying.

Shashi Tharoor was the first person to collect nomination form papers on Sunday.

“The way Gehlot behaved hasn’t gone down well with the party leadership. They are very upset with him,” another CWC member said.

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