Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday announced that he will not contest the party’s presidential polls and took moral responsibility of the political crisis in the state, reported PTI.

Gehlot made the statement after meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi. He told reporters that he has apologised to Gandhi after state Congress MLAs defied the central observers by not attending the legislature party meeting on Sunday.

The legislators had instead held another meeting and several of them loyal to Gehlot tendered their resignations, pushing the party into a crisis.

The MLAs had boycotted the meeting called in Jaipur to pass a resolution empowering the party president to pick Gehlot’s successor amid speculation that Sachin Pilot could be appointed the next chief minister.

The Congress party president elections will take place on October 17 and the results will be announced two days later. The last date to file nominations is on September 30.

The Rajasthan legislators had demanded that the new chief minister should be chosen from the pool of MLAs who had kept the government afloat when Pilot staged a revolt against the Congress in August 2020, triggering a political crisis. The Congress has issued show cause notices to three of Gehlot’s close aides for the rebellion in the party’s Rajasthan unit.

On Thursday, Gehlot said the developments in Rajasthan last week had shocked everyone, and gave the impression to the party leadership that they took place as he wanted to remain the chief minister, reported ANI.

When asked if he will remain the chief minister of Rajasthan, Gehlot said Sonia Gandhi will decide on the matter.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday said he will contest for the post of party president, PTI reported.

“I have taken the nomination papers and most probably I will file my nominations tomorrow,” Singh told reporters.

Besides Singh, only Congress’ Shashi Tharoor has confirmed that he will contest the polls. He will file his nomination on Friday.

In a tweet, Tharoor said on Thursday that Singh has met him and welcomed his candidacy for the elections.

“We both agreed that ours is not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest among colleagues,” Tharoor tweeted. “All we both want is that whoever prevails, Congress will win!”