Gehlot Drops Out of Congress President Race: ‘Gave a Message That All Happened as I wanted to Be CM’

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After days of will he-won’t he, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot finally pulled himself out of the Congress president election race on Thursday, saying that he apologised to party interim chief Sonia Gandhi over what happened in the state unit over the entire matter.

Gehlot, a three-time state chief minister, described himself as a disciplined soldier of the party and expressed his sadness over the turn of affairs in the state. Asked if he will continue as chief minister, Gehlot said Sonia Gandhi will decide on the issue.

Gehlot said that he apologised to her for the developments on Sunday when MLAs supporting him defied the central observers and thwarted their move to hold a meeting of party legislators. Instead, they held a parallel meet to pitch for Gehlot’s continuation or the guarantee that his Sachin Pilot of the rival faction does not replace him.

“I had a conversation with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. Whatever happened two days ago shocked us. It gave a message that all of it happened as I wanted to be CM. I apologised to her,” Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said after meeting Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.

I won’t contest these elections in this atmosphere, with moral responsibility, said Ashok Gehlot.

On being asked if he will remain Rajasthan CM, Gehlot said, “I won’t decide that, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will decide that”.

The Congress party was thrown into crisis when a large section of MLAs boycotted the a meeting with party’s observers few days back, saying that they will not allow the Chief Minister to be picked from those put the government at risk in July 2020.

Gehlot added that he had decided to contest the poll when Rahul Gandhi refused his last-ditch effort in Kochi but has now decided to not run for the election after what happened in the state party unit over the last few days.

“I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi and requested him to fight in the polls [for Congress president]. When he didn’t accept, I said I’ll contest but now with that incident (Rajasthan political crisis), I’ve decided not to contest the elections,” Gehlot said.

With Gehlot out of the race, senior Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Digvijay Singh are main contenders for the party president election taking place on October 17.

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