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Ex-BSP MLA bats for Sachin Pilot as Rajasthan CM, says he is the only alternative after Ashok Gehlot

A day earlier, Rajendra Singh Gudha had said that the six former BSP MLAs will support anybody who is Congress high command's choice for the top post.

MoS Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Rajendra Singh Gudha. (File Photo)

Making an apparent U-turn, a Rajasthan minister who was till now counted as a supporter of chief minister Ashok Gehlot, has come out in support of former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot for the post of CM on Friday.

“In my understanding, after Gehlot sahab, there is no alternative in Rajasthan apart from Sachin Pilot sahab,” MoS Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Rajendra Singh Gudha told reporters on Friday.

Gudha, who is considered the leader of the six BSP MLAs who had switched to the Congress in 2019 also met Pilot on Saturday.

A day earlier, Gudha had said that the six former BSP MLAs will support anybody who is Congress high command’s choice for the top post.

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Gudha’s support for Pilot is significant because the six MLAs who had switched to the Congress from the BSP, had supported Gehlot during the Rajasthan political crisis in 2020 and had strengthened Gehlot’s position as a leader who has the support of independent MLAs and legislators who joined Congress from BSP.

However, since a long time, the BSP MLAs were unhappy with the Gehlot government.

In July this year, in an interview with The Indian Express, Gudha had said that CM Gehlot had not fulfilled the promises that were made at the time of the merger of the BSP MLAs into the Congress.

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Gudha had back then said that there were anger and insecurity among the six former BSP MLAs who were unsure if they will get a Congress ticket in the 2023 Assembly elections.

Speculations have been rife in recent times that in the event of Gehlot becoming the national president of Congress, Pilot may be the high command’s choice for the CM post.

Meanwhile, Pilot on Friday met Assembly Speaker C P Joshi, amid speculations of the change of guard in the state as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot cleared that he will be running for the post of the Congress’ national president.

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Pilot met Joshi in his chamber in the Assembly, where several party MLAs were present.

According to party sources, Pilot is the frontrunner for the CM’s post but Speaker Joshi’s name is also doing rounds. 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.

Earlier in the day, both Gehlot and Pilot reached Jaipur after meeting the party high command. However, none of the leaders commented on the latest developments.

Gehlot, who was out of the state capital for three days, returned to Jaipur on Friday evening with Congress state president Govind Singh Dotasra. He went straight from the airport to the chief minister’s residence.

Gehlot had gone to Delhi on Wednesday. From there he went to Kochi and met Rahul Gandhi. He was in Maharashtra on Friday and visited the Shirdi’s Sai Baba temple.

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Pilot, who also in Kochi, reached Jaipur on Friday and went to the state Assembly. Many MLAs also met him there.

— With PTI Inputs

First published on: 24-09-2022 at 08:06 IST
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