Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said he thinks of leaving the Chief Minister’s post, but “this post is not leaving me”. And it take “courage” to state this, the Congress leader added.
Mr Gehlot, who has been in a tussle with his former deputy Sachin Pilot over the top post since the Congress won the assembly polls in 2018, appeared to be projecting himself as his party’s Chief Minister candidate when elections are held in a few months.
He, however, made clear that he will abide by the decision of the party’s central leadership.
This is the second time in recent days that Mr Gehlot has made the post-not-leaving-me statement. Last week, he made the remark when a woman told him that she wanted to see him continue as the chief minister.
At an event in Jaipur to mark the foundation of new Rajasthan districts, Mr Gehlot referred to that incident and stressed that when he says something it is after thinking it out.
“It comes to my mind that I should quit the post — why I should quit is a mystery — but this post is not leaving me,” he said.
“Whatever decision the high command takes is acceptable to me. It takes courage to say that I want to leave but this position is not allowing me to leave,” he continued.
Mr Gehlot said he has been made the chief minister thrice by Sonia Gandhi, which is not a small thing.
As the elections near, the party high command brokered a truce between Mr Pilot and Mr Gehlot some weeks ago.
But Mr Gehlot, in his address at the Jaipur event, appeared to pitch for another term as Chief Minister if the party wins, and recalled his “vision” for the state in 2030. He said a new, stronger Rajasthan has emerged due to his work and the reforms he has introduced.
“Why am I talking about 2030? I have worked in the fields of education, health, electricity, water and roads, so it is comes to mind why shouldn’t I move forward?” he said.
Last September, the party high command had tried to get him to contest the organisational elections for the Congress president’s post.
The high command called a meeting of Congress Legislature Party in Jaipur, amid speculation that it would be a step towards replacing Mr Gehlot with Mr Pilot as the Congress-run state’s chief minister.
But many Rajasthan Congress MLAs held a parallel meeting that day, indicating that they wanted Mr Gehlot to remain the Chief Minister.
Later, Mr Pilot tried to corner Mr Gehlot on the issues of recruitment exam paper leaks and corruption. But the central leadership intervened, managing to extract a show of unity from the two leaders.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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