Rajasthan Assembly Election Results 2018: Ashok Gehlot, an experienced warhorse, has the support of Congress leaders with an eye on the 2019 national election, sources said.
- Ashok Gehlot has been the chief minister of Rajasthan twice earlier
- Sachin Pilot said he had a “good meeting with Rahul Gandhi, sources said
- He has argued that most of the newly-elected legislators back him
Ashok Gehlot is likely to be Rajasthan chief minister for the third time, Congress sources said today after Rahul Gandhi met both him and his rival Sachin Pilot in Delhi. The Congress president is expected to make an announcement shortly.
Sachin Pilot, the Rajasthan Congress chief who refused to back down in the race for the top job, was the first to meet with Rahul Gandhi and it was a “good meeting,” sources told NDTV.
Two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot was next. As the 67-year-old left, he had the job, say sources. He took a flight straight back to Jaipur.
Sachin Pilot, 41, is credited with rebuilding the party when “not a shade of grass for the Congress”, in his words. He was made Rajasthan Congress chief after the Congress washout in the 2013 state election. He traveled over five lakh km while campaigning for the December 7 election.
On Tuesday, as votes were counted in Rajasthan, the victory was not as emphatic as Sachin Pilot and the Congress had anticipated. The party’s tally stopped at 99, one short of a majority. That made it critical for the party to make a careful choice, with the national election in mind.
Sachin Pilot, a former union minister in the Manmohan Singh government, did not go down without a fight. He repeatedly argued that most of the 99 Congress lawmakers in Rajasthan wanted to see him as chief minister.
Sources say Ashok Gehlot, a seasoned leader, enjoys the trust of party leaders who are looking for the best bet for the 2019 national election. The son of a magician, Mr Gehlot, as a young leader, was handpicked for Rajasthan by Rahul Gandhi’s father Rajiv Gandhi.
The Congress general secretary is in charge of several party panels and training. He is known for his political management skills and his ability to keep the flock together. He is also known for his sardonic humour. When NDTV asked him, “kaun banega chief minister,” he quipped: “That’s the million dollar question.”
News Credit: NDTV