Ashok Gehlot, Probable Congress Presidential Candidate, To Meet Sonia Gandhi On Wednesday

New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, widely expected to be one of Congress’s presidential candidate, is likely to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday, IANS reported. Gehlot is likely to talk about contesting the Congress president election with Gandhi. He is then expected to join Rahul Gandhi on the “Bharat Jodo Yatra”.

Congress is likely to see a contest for the post of party chief after Shashi Tharoor on Monday received the nod from Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi to run for the post.

Party sources told ABP that Gehlot was reportedly reluctant to give up his Rajasthan role. Gehlot is hesitant to relocate to Delhi and does not want his former deputy Sachin Pilot to be elevated to the position of Chief Minister, party sources told ABP.

READ | Rahul Gandhi Unlikely To Leave ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ To Contest Congress Presidential Polls: Report

According to people close to Gehlot, the veteran Congress leader will try to persuade Rahul Gandhi to contest the polls until the last minute. But if Rahul does not agree, he will run for the post of party president.

Gehlot has also reportedly conveyed to the Congress leadership that he wanted CP Joshi to made Chief Minister of Rajasthan instead of Sachin Pilot. At present, CP Joshi is the Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

Sources have also revealed that if not Gehlot, Sonia Gandhi was in favour of making former Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde or senior Dalit leader Mallikarjun Kharge the party’s presidential candidates.

Meanwhile, party sources told ABP that Rahul Gandhi was unlikely to leave the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ midway and contest the upcoming Congress presidential election. The development comes amid growing clamour within the Congress to make Rahul Gandhi president of the party again. About half a dozen state units have sought his elevation to the top post.

Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the Congress president in 2017. Gandhi, however, stepped down in 2019 after the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.

The process for filing of nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8 and the election, if required, will be held on October 17. The results will be out on October 19.

Earlier in the day, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said anybody was welcome to contest the Congress president’s poll, which would be free and fair as well as transparent.

“Whoever wants to file a nomination, can file it. We have said it will be an open election, anybody can contest, free and fair election, definitely it will be a transparent election,” PTI quoted Venugopal as saying after meeting Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence.

The Congress also reiterated that the election was democratic and transparent and no approval from the leadership was required.

Jairam Ramesh, the Congress’s communications in-charge, said, “It is important to emphasise that any member is welcome to run for Congress president. This is a democratic and open process. Nobody needs anyone’s approval to run for office, especially the party’s leadership.”

(With Inputs From Ashish Kumar Singh)