Reacting to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s indication he will file his nomination for the post of Congress president if Rahul Gandhi does not yield, former deputy CM Sachin Pilot said he didn’t wish to speculate.
In an informal Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting at his residence late on Tuesday, Gehlot told the MLAs that he would meet Sonia Gandhi in Delhi Wednesday and would fly down to Kerala to meet Rahul Gandhi to convince him “one last time” to contest and return as Congress president.
It is learnt Gehlot told the meeting, “If he (Rahul) doesn’t agree, and if the party asks me to do something – I have never said no — and if I have to fill the form, I will call all of you (for filing the nomination).”
Asked about the CLP meeting, Pilot simply said, “Our objective is to win Rajasthan again obviously. And like Mr Mistry [Chairman of the Congress’ Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistry] has clarified, anybody can file a nomination to fight the elections but let’s wait and see for a few days how things develop, I don’t wish to speculate.”
“This election process will strengthen the party for sure. Who will fight and who will be the contestants is yet to be seen,” Pilot told The Indian Express.
“The party has passed a resolution for Rahul ji to contest. And the ultimate decision is with him to contest or not,” he said.
Asked about Gehlot’s indication that he would like to continue as the CM even if he becomes the party president, Pilot said, “From the media reports I’ve seen, I would like to say for now that we want the Congress party to win Rajasthan state elections again.”
While Pilot reached Cochin Tuesday to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Gehlot is meeting Sonia Gandhi and some senior party functionaries in New Delhi Wednesday and is expected to join the Yatra by Wednesday evening itself.
Gehlot is expected to be in the Yatra for a couple of days, before returning directly to New Delhi on September 23 or 24.
The Congress party will start the process for the president’s election on September 22 by issuing the notification, and the filing of the nominations will begin from September 25 to 30. The election for the post of Congress president will be held on October 17 and the result will be released after two days.
For the Congress president election, candidates can file nominations between September 24 and 30 and the last date of withdrawal is October 8. The date of election, if needed, will be October 17, 2022, from 10 am to 4 pm, and the date of counting and declaration of result will be October 19, 2022.