Pilot- Gehlot tussle gathers momentum
Infighting within Congress evident after exit polls
Jaipur: The Congress clearly seemed buoyed on Saturday, a day after most opinion polls predicted the party will return to power in Rajasthan. Amid the signs of glee also surfaced bitter infighting within its state unit.
Senior Rajasthan Congress leaders rushed to New Delhi late on Friday evening to discuss the possibilities of government formation and the next chief minister, an issue that has remained contentious with several claimants to the throne within the party. Exit polls said the Congress will likely win anywhere between 101 and 141 seats in the 200- member Assembly.
The fight has largely remained concentrated between Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, both of whom were holed up in meetings with Congress leadership in national capital through Saturday.
In the state, state Congress unit spokesperson and former legislator Pratap Singh Khachariyawas took on Gehlot over his statement on candidates who could become the CM in case the party gets the mandate. “I read in the papers that he [ Gehlot] has said the party has five faces
who could be projected as the next CM. But MLAs of the party decide who will be our leader after the results are out,” Khachariyawas told reporters on Saturday.
The legislator is a known Pilot aide and has been a constant in all his rallies and public meetings in Jaipur. Responding to his statement, Gehlot quipped, “He [ Khacha-
riyawas] is right. Rahul ji will decide who will be the next CM of Rajasthan.”
Gehlot who has twice served as the CM was promoted as the Pradesh Congress Committee chief at 34. The Congress chose him as the CM face in 1998 sidelining party heavyweights like Nawal Kishore Sharma and Paras Ram Maderna.
Done with the gruelling election campaigning for now, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan puts his motor skills to good use elsewhere