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Congress triggers race for CM as it fields all old warhorses in Rajasthan polls

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Unlike in MP, the Congress has decided to field senior leaders Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot, CP Joshi and Girija Vyas in Rajasthan polls.

New Delhi: The Congress has fielded all its old war horses in the Rajasthan elections, heightening the suspense over its chief ministerial candidate.

Late Thursday night, the party released its first list of 152 candidates for the 7 December polls.

Two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot will contest from Sardarpura, while state Congress chief Sachin Pilot will fight from Tonk. Former union minister C.P. Joshi, who missed his chance to become chief minister when he lost in the 2008 polls by one vote, has been fielded from Nathdwara. Former state Congress chief Girija Vyas will contest from Udaipur.

Also read: Rajasthan polls: How Vasundhara Raje managed to have the final say in ticket allotment

Differences among the leadership

For the past few months, the Rajasthan Congress has been plagued by differences among senior leaders, especially on the issue of chief ministership.

Gehlot and Pilot are said to be the main contenders for the post if the Congress romps home, as predicted by opinion polls.

“The senior leadership had to intervene as it was felt that the formula of not fielding top leaders — which is in place for the Madhya Pradesh elections — may not work in Rajasthan,” said a senior Congress leader.

Also read: As leaders quit BJP in Rajasthan party brass worries about poor optics, impact on LS polls

BJP rebels

Meanwhile, many BJP ministers and MLAs who were denied tickets have turned rebel, making matters even tougher for chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

Habibur Rahman, the sitting MLA from Nagaur, was denied a ticket by the BJP, so he switched sides to the Congress Wednesday and was given a ticket.

Harish Chandra Meena, the MP from Dausa, who also quit the BJP to join the Congress Wednesday, will contest from Deoli Unaira.

Another rebel, Kanhaiyalal Jhanwar, who joined the Congress Thursday night, has been given a ticket from Bikaner East.

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