Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Thursday met with party's interim boss Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence in Delhi. The meeting came only hours after his rival and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot opted out of the race to contest the Congress presidential elections.
The meeting lasted for an hour, following which Pilot told reporters that Gandhi will take a “positive decision related to Rajasthan”. He added that Congress' collective efforts is to win the 2023 assembly elections in the state.
“She listened to me calmly. We held a detailed discussion on whatever happened in Jaipur, Rajasthan. I told her my sentiments, my feedback,” Pilot was quoted as saying by ANI.
Gehlot's former deputy further stated that he is “confident” about the return of Congress government in Rajasthan in 2023 through “hard work”.
Pilot landed in the national capital on Tuesday amid the continuing political impasse in the northwestern state, which was triggered after Gehlot loyalists refused to accept Pilot as the CM's successor if he ran for the Congress party's top post.
Earlier in the day, Gehlot met Gandhi and “profusely” apologised to her for the mass rebellion of MLAs in Rajasthan. He then announced that he was not going to contest the forthcoming Congress presidential polls.
On Sunday evening, a large number of Rajasthan lawmakers who were opposing Pilot becoming the next chief minister, refused to attend a Congress legislative party (CLP) meeting scheduled at Gehlot's residence in Jaipur in the presence of party's central observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge. Instead, they held a parallel meeting at the house of state cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal - a staunch supporter of Gehlot - following which more than 90 MLAs submitted their resignation to Speaker CP Joshi.
Before Maken and Kharge departed for Delhi, Gehlot met the latter and had apologised saying the separate meeting among the MLAs should not have happened. In their written report on the political crisis in Rajasthan, Maken and Kharge called the MLAs rebellion a “gross indiscipline”, and three of Gehlot's loyalists - including Dhariwal - were also issued notice by the grand old party.
After his meeting with Gandhi, Gehlot told reporters that it is “up to” her to decide if he remains the chief minister of Rajasthan. Later, his colleague KC Venugopal said the decision on the CM's role will be made in a day or two.
Meanwhile, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh announced earlier today that he will contest the party's presidential elections and will file his nomination on Friday. This made him only the second candidate who has confirmed his/her candidature. Congress MP and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor has already confirmed he is contesting, and got his nomination papers collected last Saturday from the party's headquarters in Delhi. He will also file his nomination on Friday, which is also the last date to do so.
(With HT bureau inputs)
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