CLP meeting amidst discussion of change of leadership at Gehlot’s residence on Sunday
The Congress has called a meeting of its legislature party in Rajasthan at Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s Jaipur residence at 7 pm on Sunday, amid talks of a change of leadership following the announcement that he would contest the election of the party president. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has appointed Mallikarjun Kharge as observer along with Ajay Maken, general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan. AICC general secretary organization KC Venugopal said on Saturday that he would attend the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
Earlier in the day, Maken met Sonia Gandhi and discussed in detail the issues related to Rajasthan. This is the second meeting of the CLP within a week. The last meeting was held on 20 September.
Sources said that if Gehlot is elected the party chief, the leadership of the government could be on the agenda of the meeting going forward. Gehlot on Friday became the first person to announce his candidature for the AICC presidential election and said that former president Rahul Gandhi has told him that no one from the Gandhi family should become the next party chief.
The chief minister also said that Sonia Gandhi and Maken will decide on his successor. Gehlot’s remarks came a day after Rahul Gandhi fought for the concept of ‘one man, one post’ in line with ‘chintan camp’ reforms in the party.
Speaking to reporters in Kochi, Gehlot had said, “I will decide the date (for submission of nomination papers) after I go back (to Rajasthan), but I have decided that I will have to contest elections. It is a question of democracy and let us make a fresh start.” Later in the day, Gehlot told reporters in Shirdi that the debate on “one man, one post” is unnecessary and that he would like to serve the people of his state throughout his life. He also said that his statements on his desire to serve the people of Rajasthan are being interpreted differently.
Interestingly, Congress leader Sachin Pilot met Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi on Friday. Pilot had met Joshi in his chamber in the state assembly, where several party MLAs were also present.
According to party sources, Pilot is the main contender for the chief minister’s post but Joshi’s name is also in the news. Joshi is a former state Congress president and was a contender for the post in 2008 but lost the assembly elections by one vote at that time.
After more than two decades, the Congress is set to see a contest for the post of party chief with Gehlot, who has announced his candidature, expected to take on Shashi Tharoor, who on Saturday left the AICC headquarters in Delhi. Enrollment forms were collected. According to the notification issued by the party on Thursday, the process of filing nominations for the elections will continue from September 24 to September 30.
The date for scrutiny of nomination papers is October 1, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. The final list of candidates will be published on October 8 at 5 pm.
If needed, the polling will be held on October 17. The counting of votes will take place on October 19 and the result will be declared on the same day.
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