Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot allayed speculations around a possible change of guard in the state, saying people should not pay attention to rumours. His remarks came two days after former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to discuss his future role in the party.
“Rumours keep running in the media and in newspapers. You don’t have to pay attention to them,” Gehlot said during a state-level event of the Rajasthan Revenue Service Council in Jaipur.
Gehlot said his resignation letter was lying with the Congress high command permanently, and if the party had to change the chief minister in the state, it would be done without any hint to anyone.
“The condition of the Congress should be a matter of concern for the whole country. Common citizens who never vote for the Congress also want the party to be a strong opposition in the country,” the chief minister said.
Pilot met Gandhi on April 21 after which he asserted that the party’s objective is to retain power in Rajasthan and called for moving forward on organisational and government changes made earlier in the state.
Speaking with reporters after the over hour-long meeting at Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence, Pilot stated that he would fulfill any responsibility the Congress president directs him to perform, stressing that he wants to repeat the Congress government in his home state.
Pilot had earlier this month met the Gandhi siblings Rahul and Priyanka, and there is a renewed buzz about whether the central leadership will give in to his demand for a change at the helm in the state.
Since his rebellion against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot two years ago, the party high command has attempted to bring about a balance of power between the Gehlot and Pilot camps in the state. According to Pilot’s supporters, the process has to culminate in the younger leader replacing Gehlot as chief minister.
In the backdrop of the party’s humiliating defeat in the assembly polls in Punjab, where the party high command had effected major changes just months before the elections, Pilot’s supporters say that if a leadership change has to be brought about in Rajasthan, it should take place immediately, so that the new leader gets time to work on the public perception of the party.
Last year, 12 new ministers were inducted and three ministers of state were elevated to the cabinet rank after the AICC committee formed to look into the grievances voiced by Pilot and his supporters.
Interestingly, Gehlot was also in Delhi a couple of days back and attended a presentation made by election strategist Prashant Kishor at Gandhi’s residence.
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