The Congress on Saturday warned party leaders against making “irresponsible statements” after a former Union minister suggested that Ashok Gehlot should be the chief ministerial candidate in the next Rajasthan elections.
Ex-MP Lalchand Kataria recently said former chief minister Ashok Gehlot should be projected as the party’s CM face in the state, which goes to polls later this year.
In a sharp reaction today, AICC general secretary and party affairs in-charge for Rajasthan Avinash Pande said those making such remarks will be barred by the Congress from contesting the coming elections.
“The party high command is very serious about such irresponsible statements and is taking cognisance of all such remarks,” he said.
“All leaders having faith in and loyalty to the party should refrain from making such statements because this gives an issue to the rival parties and lowers the morale of the party workers,” he added.
Pande said the upcoming elections will be contested under the leadership of party president Rahul Gandhi with the collective contribution of all senior leaders.
Gehlot himself was cautious when questioned by reporters in Udaipur, saying he will fulfil the responsibilities the party gives him. When asked who will become the chief minister if the Congress wins, he said this was decided by the party high command.
“We need to see that how the party wins. All decisions are made at the right time,” he said.
However, the Congress leader also said he will not keep away from the people of Rajasthan.
Gehlot said when he was in Karnataka, Gujarat and Karnataka, there were rumours that he had left the home state.
“I reiterate this that I am not away from the people of Rajasthan. Wherever I am, till my last breath I shall serve Rajasthan,” he said.
BJP leaders picked on the row within the Congress.
“There is infighting and confusion in Congress. Its trailer was seen in their ‘Mera booth mera gaurav’ programmes earlier and now this is among senior leaders,” Union minister and Jodhur MP Gajendra Singh said today, referring to a Congress outreach programme.
Union minister and Pali MP P P Chaudhary made a similar comment about “infighting” in the Congress, which he said could not decide on its chief ministerial candidate.
“They are well aware of the fact that BJP is going to form the government again,” he said.
The BJP has already named Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje as its candidate for the same post again.