But the suspense over Gehlot’s continuation at the helm in the state deepened with the party saying it would be decided in a day or two.
SPECIFIC ASSURANCES TO SACHIN PILOT
Sachin Pilot, who has so far remained silent on the crisis, said he shared his sentiments with Sonia Gandhi on the Rajasthan fiasco and reiterated his commitment towards Congress. I won’t abandon the party and will work hard to ensure Congress wins in the 2023 assembly elections, he said.
“Sonia Gandhi met us today and patiently listened to our views. We thoroughly discussed the Rajasthan political crisis. I honestly portrayed my sentiments and feedback to her. We will have to work hard together to win the next assembly elections in Rajasthan. All the decisions regarding Rajasthan and its politics will be taken by Sonia Gandhi,” he said.
According to sources, specific assurances were given to Sachin Pilot. Things might not change immediately but they will before elections in Rajasthan. Sachin Pilot is happy with what was discussed, sources said.
Pilot’s late night meeting came hours after Ashok Gehlot apologised to the Congress interim chief for the Rajasthan crisis and announced his decision to pull out of the party president race.
“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,” he said.
SONIA GANDHI’S DECISION
Even though Gehlot took “moral responsibility” for the crisis in his home state, Sonia Gandhi is expected to take a decision on the issue in the coming days. The ball is now in Sonia Gandhi’s court, as indicated by Congress leader KC Venugopal who said, “That [retention of Gehlot as Rajasthan CM] decision will be taken by the Congress president in a day or two.”
ADVISORY TO ALL LEADERS
Soon after, an advisory came from the high command warning of strict disciplinary action against leaders making public statements on internal matters of the party and against other party functionaries. The party said that it is “noticing statements of Congress leaders in Rajasthan” following the crisis.
DIGVIJAYA SINGH VS SHASHI THAROOR VS MUKUL WASNIK ?
Until the crisis in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot was seen to be the Gandhis’ first choice for Congress president. With Gehlot pulling out of the race, the two candidates for the top post so far are Shashi Tharoor and senior leader Digvijaya Singh.
Digvijaya Singh met with Shashi Tharoor after announcing his decision to contest. Both leaders will file their nominations tomorrow, September 30.
Received a visit from @digvijaya_28 this afternoon. I welcome his candidacy for the Presidency of our Party. We both agreed that ours is not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest among colleagues. All we both want is that whoever prevails, @incIndia will win! pic.twitter.com/Df6QdzZoRH
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 29, 2022
“Received a visit from @digvijaya_28 this afternoon. I welcome his candidacy for the Presidency of our Party. We both agreed that ours is not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest among colleagues. All we both want is that whoever prevails, @INCIndia will win!,” Shashi Tharoor tweeted after meeting Digvijaya Singh on Thursday, indicating that the contest will be a friendly one between the two senior leaders.
But sources have told India Today that Congress leaders including Mukul Wasnik (G-23) and Meira Kumar could also be a part of the race for the top post as the ‘official candidate’ of the high command.
Mukul Wasnik, who was one of the signatories of the explosive letter to Sonia Gandhi in 2020, held meetings with Ashok Gehlot and AK Antony on Thursday.
NO CONGRESS WITHOUT GANDHIS?
Meanwhile, Digvijaya Singh, who is currently seen as the frontrunner, in an interview with India Today, emphasised that the Congress party is nothing without the Nehru-Gandhi family, on the eve of filing the nomination. Without the Nehru-Gandhi family, the Congress is zero, he said.
Mani Shankar Aiyar on Cong political crisis, “I am confident that the Gandhi family intends to be neutral.” @KDscribe says, “The next President will be the executive of the party who will do all the executive job.”#NewsToday | @sardesairajdeep pic.twitter.com/boJ6p8iNYj
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) September 29, 2022
The same sentiment was shared by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in an interview with India Today. He said there is a distinction between a ‘leader’ and the party president and Gandhis are the ‘leaders’ and will remain so.
“The Congress president will influence the leadership and the leaders will influence the president,” he said, indicating that Gandhis will remain neutral in the Congress race.
— ENDS —