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Cong prez polls: Anyone including Sachin Pilot acceptable as CM, says Gehlot's minister 

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Rajendra Gudha (L), and Ashok Gehlot (R). (Photo | PTI/ Rajendra Singh Gudha Twitter)

Rajendra Gudha (L), and Ashok Gehlot (R). (Photo | PTI/ Rajendra Singh Gudha Twitter)

Express News Service

JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's indication of leaving the post of CM in the event of filing a nomination for Congress President has heated up the political scene in the state. The question of who will be the CM of Rajasthan if Gehlot becomes the national president is being hotly debated.

In the midst of these questions, a minister in the Gehlot government, Rajendra Gudha, has raised the political temperature by saying that he will be with the Congress high Command and whichever name the Gandhi family decides will be acceptable, even if it is Sachin Pilot, Gehlot’s arch-rival.

Minister Gudha is one of the six MLAs who switched from the BSP to Congress three years ago. CM Gehlot had included him in Congress and in the cabinet expansion held last year, he was also inducted into the state cabinet.

Talking to the media in Jaipur on Thursday, Gudha said, “We are only with the Congress high command. Whoever Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi choose, he will be our Chief Minister.”

Gudha also claimed that this stand is not only his but of all the other five MLAs who joined the Congress from BSP. He said their group is not averse to making Gehlot's rival Sachin Pilot as the Chief Minister and remarked, “our yes is not only for Sachin Pilot, but also for Bharosi Lal Jatav.” ( a Dalit MLA of the Congress)

Meanwhile, after Gehlot's statement, his supporters have also come forward.  Independent MLA Sanyam Lodha, who is supporting the Congress and is an advisor to the Chief Minister, said that the next election can be won only on the face of Gehlot. Lodha said, “Ashok Gehlot started the schemes for the welfare of the poor and he has done wonderful work for four years as the Chief Minister. He has done unprecedented work of development and it is only by keeping his face in the forefront that Congress can get the benefit of all those works.”

Cabinet Minister Ram Lal Jat also praised Gehlot and said “Wherever he is, we know his capabilities and he will raise the flag of Congress in entire India. If he gets a chance,  as a chief minister Gehlot has given great schemes for Rajasthan.”

While talking to the media in Kochi on Thursday, Gehlot took a U-Turn on the statement of staying in two posts in Delhi on Wednesday and made it clear that the post of AICC President has to look after the work of the whole country and all the states, so he cannot hold two posts.  “Till date, no Congress president in history has been a chief minister at the same time.” He also added that the role of the President is to revive the Congress, then how can you keep two posts.”

Now the tussle between Gehlot and his rival Sachin Pilot camp will intensify over the appointment of the new Chief Minister.  Besides Pilot, the other names that are being discussed the most are Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, state Congress President Govind Singh Dotasra and former Union Minister Bhanwar Jitendra Singh.  It will be interesting to see on whose head the Gandhi family keeps the crown.

Gehlot met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi for the last time and tried to persuade him to become the president.  After Rahul Gandhi's clear no, Gehlot plans to file his nomination.  The notification for the election of Congress President was issued today and in case of a contest, the result will be declared on October 19.

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