A meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Rajasthan was delayed on Sunday after some of the party’s MLAs said that state Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot should retain his post, The Indian Express reported. The meeting was scheduled to start at 7 pm.
Earlier in the day, Gehlot had hinted that he would step down as the chief minister. The 71-year-old is in running to be Congress’s next president.
The election to decide the successor to the longest-serving party president Sonia Gandhi will take place on October 17 and the results will be announced two days later.
Besides Gehlot, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has confirmed that he will contest the poll. The final list of candidates will be published at 5 pm on October 8.
The question of Gehlot quitting his post has arisen after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said that the party will follow the “one-man, one-post rule”.
On Sunday, Gehlot said he had held different constitutional posts for 40 years and that now a new generation should get a chance, according to The Indian Express.
“What more can a person get?” Gehlot told reporters in Jaisalmer. “It is on my mind that the new generation should get a chance. Everyone should come together to give leadership to the country.”
He had also said that a one-line resolution allowing the Congress president to pick his successor was likely to be passed during Sunday’s meeting.
On Sunday, Congress MLA Govind Ram Meghwal said that Gehlot can manage both roles as chief minister and as the party’s national president.
He also said that the likelihood of Sachin Pilot becoming the next chief minister of Rajasthan is also a “sensitive issue”, according to The Indian Express.
“There is resentment among the MLAs,” he said. “There were independents who helped us during the political crisis [of 2020]. Hence, we will all sit down and discuss.”
In August 2020, Pilot had staged a revolt against the Congress, pushing the Rajasthan government into a political crisis. The turmoil, however, was resolved after the Congress had formed a three-member panel comprising Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal and Ahmed Patel to address Pilot’s concerns.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, however, claimed that the talks of choosing Gehlot’s successor will happen after he is elected as party president.
“Out of 102 MLAs, anybody can become the CM,” Khachariyawas told ANI. “Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot will decide it.”