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No disrespect to high command, says Gehlot


Published on: September 27, 2022 | Updated on: September 27, 2022

Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot interacts with party leader Pawan Bansal as he leaves after meeting Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi. (Photo: PTI)

NEW DELHI: Reeling from the rebellion in the Rajasthan Congress, the party high command is in a bind over the suitability of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to be Congress president. Sources say that after the developments in Jaipur, Gehlot reached out to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to explain his position and said there was no disrespect to the high command from his side. He is expected to meet the Gandhis soon, while his arch-rival Sachin Pilot rushed to Delhi ahead of any decision on Rajasthan.

Reports said the Congress’ central observers to Rajasthan, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, had submitted a written report on Tuesday evening and gave a clean chit to Gehlot.

Three MLAs, Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Dharmendra Rathore, who are considered close to the CM, orchestrated the rebellion, but Gehlot has denied any part in it. During the day, Mr Gehlot held several meetings with some of his MLAs and ministers in Jaipur.

In a related development, Congress disciplinary committee member Tariq Anwar issued show-cause notices to three MLAs.

While the Rajasthan rebellion rages on and barely a couple of days are left for filing the nomination for the Congress presidential election, Gehlot has not yet got the nomination papers.

Meanwhile, several new names, including former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijaya Singh, former Maharashtra CM and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde along with Kharge, A.K Antony, Kamal Nath, Ambika Soni and Pawan Kumar Bansal, have started cropping up for the probable presidential candidate. Most of them ruled themselves out.

The name of Gehlot for the top party post is, however, not completely ruled out yet, according to informed sources.

During the day Mrs Gandhi met the central election committee of the party to take stock of the preparations for the upcoming elections. The Congress president also summoned party veteran Antony, who had retired, from Kerala. Insiders claim that Mrs Gandhi will appoint Antony to take action against ministers and MLAs from Rajasthan who led the open revolt against the orders of the high command.

Sachin Pilot is expected to meet the Gandhis soon. He was at the legislature party meeting in Jaipur, which was boycotted by a majority of the MLAs. Pilot has maintained a stoic silence in the last couple of days as he awaits the final decision of Mrs Gandhi before he takes a final call on his next move.