Ashok Gehlot said today that he will not run for president of Congress, taking “moral responsibility” for the rebellion in Rajasthan from MLAs loyal to him. He also said that he had apologized to Sonia Gandhi for the Rajasthan crisis.
Here are the top 10 developments in this great story.
Ashok Gehlot met with Sonia Gandhi for an hour and a half. Later, he told the media that he was withdrawing from the election of the president of Congress, but that he had left it to the party leadership to decide.
A day before the closing of the nominations for the election of the president of the Congress, Digvijaya Singh officially joined the contest and said that he would file his documents tomorrow. He told reporters that he had not discussed his decision with the Gandhi’s, raising questions about who will be the “official” candidate for the October 17 elections.
Shashi Tharoor plans to file his election papers tomorrow for a new head of Congress, the first in more than 20 years without a Gandhi in the top job.
Initially evasive about the challenge, Digvijaya Singh collected 10 nomination forms from the Congress office and declared that he would file his papers tomorrow. He told reporters that he had not discussed his move with the Gandhis.
Ashok Gehlot was considered to be the Gandhi’s first choice for Congress President, until a rebellion by Rajasthan Congress MLAs loyal to him profoundly upset the leadership.
More than 90 MLA members have threatened a mass resignation over reports that if Gehlot were to run for Speaker of Congress, he would be replaced by his rival Sachin Pilot as Prime Minister of Rajasthan.
The MLA laid the conditions before two central leaders, Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge, who described the rebellion as “great indiscipline” in their report to Sonia Gandhi. Three ministers close to Gehlot were asked to explain his role in engineering the rebellion within 10 days.
Gehlot alleges a “motivated attempt to label him a rebel” at the behest of the “BJP and some vested interests”. Congress wanted Gehlot to step down as Rajasthan’s prime minister before running for Congress president, the sources say. He was also told that he must respect the leaders’ choice of who will replace him in Rajasthan.
Gehlot wanted to keep his role in Rajasthan even as he ran for party chief. Rahul Gandhi made it clear last week that this is not possible as the party would stick to his “one person, one place” determination.
Sonia Gandhi is also likely to meet Sachin Pilot, who has long awaited his moment in Rajasthan but has been almost blocked by the Gehlot team.
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