October 31, 2013 3:52:04 am
AICC general secretary C P Joshi is likely to contest the assembly elections from his stronghold in Nathdwara in Rajsamand district. Party insiders said his name has already been finalised by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The decision has ruffled the Ashok Gehlot camp as Joshi is seen as a probable chief ministerial candidate.
Currently,the Congress in Rajasthan lacks a prominent Brahmin face and the choice has been between Joshi and Girija Vyas.
In the 2008 assembly elections,Joshi was defeated in Nathdwara by a margin of one vote,which he then contested before the Rajasthan High Court. A recounting of four booths showed that the BJP candidate,Kalyan Singh,who won this seat,used foul play and his wife,Kalpana Tanwar had voted twice at booth no. 39 and 40. The Supreme Court finally ruled that the election on this seat was a tie.
Meanwhile,Joshi got elected as an MP from Bhilwara and went on to hold several portfolios at the Centre,including Railways,Road Transport and Highways,Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. He is considered to be a close aide of Rahul and a force to reckon with in Rajasthans politics.
If the talk about Joshis re-entry into state politics has ruffled the Gehlot camp,it is not without reason. Joshi and Gehlots rivalry and their battle for one-upmanship has often made headlines. Joshi had refused to attend a recent feedback meeting,saying Gehlot would not be happy to have him there.
However,when he did attend it,Joshi had cited an instance from Hindu mythology and remarked that Gehlot would have to drink poison,hinting that the latter will have to accept even those he did not like and work together with everyone.
It is rumoured that while the party high command is keen on Joshi contesting the assembly elections,Gehlot is fighting tooth and nail to get him off the list.
The tiff has reportedly held back the first list of candidates that was slated to be released by Monday.
Party sources said that apart from Joshi,several other MPs are likely to get tickets in the assembly polls. Lal Chand Kataria,Mahesh Joshi,Raghuvir Singh Meena,Ratan Singh,Mahadev Singh Khandela and Tarachand Bhagora are all said to be seeking tickets for the assembly elections.
The MPs not only fear losing their hold on their existing parliamentary seats in the next elections,the party high command too does not want to take a chance with the assembly elections.
While Kataria is eyeing the Jhotwara constituency,Mahesh Joshi is being considered for Sanganer or Hawa Mahal. Mahadev Singh is lobbying for his home turf Khandela.
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