Jaipur, September 23
Congress leader Sachin Pilot met Rajasthan Assembly speaker CP Joshi on Friday amid speculation about a changing of the guard in the state, as Prime Minister Ashok Gehlot clarified that he will run for the post of national president of Congress.
Pilot met Joshi in his room at the State Assembly, where several of the party’s MLAs were also present.
According to party sources, Pilot is the main candidate for the post of chief minister, but speaker Joshi’s name is also making the rounds. Joshi is a former President of the State Congress and ran for the post in 2008 but lost the general election by one vote.
Earlier in the day, both Gehlot and the pilot reached Jaipur after meeting with the party’s high command.
However, none of the leaders commented on the recent developments.
Gehlot, who was out of the national capital for three days, returned to Jaipur on Friday evening with Congress President Govind Singh Dotasra. He went straight from the airport to the Prime Minister’s residence.
Gehlot traveled to Delhi on Wednesday. From there he went to Kochi and met Rahul Gandhi. He was in Maharashtra on Friday visiting Shirdi Sai Baba Temple.
Pilot, who was also in Kochi, reached Jaipur on Friday and went to the State Assembly. There he also met many MLAs who were close to Pilot.
Meanwhile, the names of Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot trended on Twitter throughout the day, even as senior congressional leaders refrained from commenting on the matter.
Rajasthan Food Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas said that if Gehlot submits his nomination for the post of Congress President, all MLAs of the State Party will support him because he is the Chief Minister and leader of the Legislative Party.
When asked about the new chief minister, he said: “The next chief minister will be whoever the high command wants. The high command has its own way and it will decide.”
Deputy Chief Whip Mahendra Chaudhary said: “We welcome the High Command’s decision. If Gehlot submits his nomination, the MLAs will be asked to go to Delhi.”
The process for submitting nominations for the office of Congress Chair will continue from September 24-30. The final date for withdrawing nominations is October 8th. If there is more than one candidate, the vote will take place on October 17th and the results will be announced on October 19th.