Supporters of former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and state Congress chief Sachin Pilot reportedly want the party to announce a CM candidate before polls.
New Delhi: Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said Wednesday that both he and state party chief Sachin Pilot will contest the upcoming assembly election, putting an end to speculation that some senior leaders will sit out the polls.
Gehlot also rubbished claims of in-fighting in Rajasthan Congress, saying they were a creation of the media and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Jo saari foot waali khabre thi unka parda faash ho chuka hai… Wo sab khatam
ho chuka hai(The reports of infighting have been proved lies. It’s over),” Gehlot said at a press conference called for the induction of BJP MP Harish Meena into the Congress. “Pilot bhi chunav ladenge, mai bhi ladunga, hum sab ek saath chunav ladenge (Pilot and I both will contest the election. We will all contest the election together).”
When asked to specify whether he meant the Lok Sabha or the assembly elections,
he chose the latter but refused to divulge the names of the constituencies they would contest from.
He also said the party would not declare a chief ministerial candidate, despite calls from within the Congress to do so.
“As far as Rajasthan is concerned, since Independence, we have never declared a CM
candidate before elections and it is good to follow that practice,” Gehlot said. “We
believe in discipline and will follow the high-command.”
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot, a former union minister, said he had agreed to contest the election on the directions of party president Rahul Gandhi and the request of Ashok Gehlot.
“People will give their response to the BJP on 7 December [election day],” he added.
Less than a month before elections, the Congress has yet to release its list of candidates for the assembly election, while the BJP already has. The Congress is believed to have a decent shot at this year’s election, as Rajasthan is known to alternately vote the BJP and the Congress to office.
For the past few months, the Rajasthan Congress has reportedly been plagued by differences between senior Congress leaders, especially on the issue of chief ministership.
Supporters of Gehlot and Pilot reportedly want the party to declare a chief ministerial candidate before election day. However, the party high-command believes that not declaring the CM candidate would work in its favour, especially in light of reports that there is a strong anti-incumbency wave in Rajasthan.
There were also reports that many senior Congress leaders in the state were not in favour of contesting the assembly polls as the 2019 elections are just round the corner.