With Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot indicating his anguish before party president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, his loyalists in Jaipur rallied behind him and indicated that it was a delicate moment for the party veteran indeed.
Cross over Congress high command’s ‘unilateral’ decision to opt for a Chief Minister without consulting them, around 90 MLAs had skipped the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet and submitted their resignation to Rajasthan Assembly Speaker C P Joshi late on September 25.
In a press conference in Delhi after an hour-and-a-half-long meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Gehlot said he takes moral responsibility for the CLP not being able to pass a resolution and that “I will always regret it, all my life.”
Post Gehlot’s press conference, Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi said in Jaipur: “He (Gehlot) was so pained that on the night of 25th, he could not sleep peacefully. When we went to meet him on the 25th, he just had one anguish: ‘yaar madam ko kitna dukh hoga’ (how much would madam Sonia be pained).”
Joshi said that he has never seen Gehlot in such pain. “I have never seen him in greater pain, even when we lost the (Assembly) elections – be it in 2003 or 2013. So when he said that no one can know my pain (in the press conference), this has come straight from his heart. And I believe that when he was speaking, unki aatma unke shabdon mein nikal rahi thi (he was pouring his heart out). There can’t be a bigger example in this country’s politics.”
“There are many circumstances where the person is not involved himself, but since he was on the biggest post, he has taken the moral responsibility,” Joshi said.
Joshi said that Gehlot has touched the heights of “morality, faith and loyalty by apologising to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and perhaps for the first time in the country, a person at the rank of Chief Minister has set an example of such humility.”
Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said that, “whatever the leader (Gehlot) said, we have said. If he has apologised, it means we all have apologised before the national president.”
“He has said all that needs to be said. That everything depends on Sonia Gandhi and whatever she orders, we will follow. Now when the leader of the Legislature Party has said this, there is nothing else left to say. Sonia Gandhi ji is our leader,” Khachariyawas said.