Rajasthan: Cong Appoints Observers As Gehlot Set To Contest For Cong Top Post

Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi has appointed senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken as ‘Observers’ to attend the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) to decide the next CM

NEW DELHI | Updated: 25 September, 2022 12:14 pm IST

Amid the buzz that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot would be running for the post of Congress president, the party’s interim chief Sonia Gandhi has appointed senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken as ‘Observers’ to attend the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) to decide the next CM. The CLP meeting would decide the fate of Sachin Pilot, who has been eyeing the CM’s post for long.

Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal took to Twitter and wrote, “Congress President has appointed Mallikarjun Kharge as Observer along with Ajay Maken, General Secretary AICC, Incharge of Rajasthan, to attend the meeting of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly slated to be held on September 25 at 7 pm.”

The action comes after Gehlot met former party chief Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra on Thursday in Kerala to convince him to assume the top post of the party. However, Rahul once again refused to be at the helm of the party affairs.

Interestingly, before Gehlot, former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot also met Rahul in Kerala on Wednesday.

Speculations are rife that Gehlot will have to resign from the chief ministerial post to run for the party’s top post, as he is said to be the preferred candidate of the Gandhi family.

In 2020, Pilot led a revolt against his government. He was removed from the post of Deputy Chief Minister as well as the party state unit chief. However, as per party sources, Sonia Gandhi has clearly stated that she will be staying neutral for the elections for the party president’s post.

On Thursday, Rahul, who is spearheading the party’s 3,750-km-long Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, asserted that whoever becomes the chief should remember he represented a set of ideas, a belief system, the vision of India and also backed the party’s “one man, one post” rule.

The indication by the former party boss and Gandhi scion means that Gehlot, believed to be the frontrunner for Congress president, may not get a chance to play a double role.

Addressing a press conference, Rahul in Kerala’s Ernakulam had said, “The Congress president is not just an organisation post, but an ideological one. Whoever becomes the Congress president should remember that he represents an idea, a belief system, and represents a vision of India.”

When asked about the ‘one man, one post’ resolution passed by the party during the three-day Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, the Congress Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad said, “We have made a commitment in Udaipur; I expect it will be maintained.”

On Saturday, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also took the nomination form for the party post, thus becoming the first candidate to throw his hat into the election ring.

The Congress is witnessing an election for the top post after a gap of 21 years. Sonia Gandhi remained at the top post of the party for 18 years from 2000 to 2017. In 2017, Rahul became the party chief, which he quit after the 2019 Lok Sabha election drubbing. Sonia Gandhi has been holding the post of interim Congress chief since then.

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