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Will not contest Congress president polls, says Ashok Gehlot

New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday said that he will not fight for the post of Congress chief. His remarks came after the veteran leader met with party’s interim chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence at 10 Janpath in the national capital on Thursday. “I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi and requested him to fight the polls (for Congress President). When he didn’t accept, I said I’ll contest but now with that incident (political crisis in Rajasthan), I have decided not to contest the elections,” CM Gehlot said. Gehlot also apologised for the ruckus in Rajasthan triggered by his loyalists over a possible leadership change in the state after Gehlot was set to file his nomination papers for the Congress chief polls. Gehlot said that whatever happened in the state in the past two days had shocked everyone. “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,” said CM Gehlot addressing the media persons after meeting Sonia Gandhi. Infact, Gehlot took a page with him on which was written, “Whatever happened, was wrong. I am hurt.”

Interestingly, according to highly placed sources in the grand old party, Sonia questioned Gehlot, “What all happened in Rajasthan and why did it happen?” To this Gehlot replied, “Even I do not know. But this happened and I am sad for it. You gave me everything.” After this CM Ashok Gehlot reportedly offered to resign from the post of Chief Minister, but Sonia did not give any response to Gehlot’s offer. As a result, now Rajasthan Congress is in a situation of uncertainty.

The one and a half hour meeting between Sonia and Gehlot also saw participation of General secretary (Organization) KC Venugopal and after the meeting, Gehlot appeared to be in a happy mood. Meanwhile, further in his address to the media persons, Gehlot said that he won’t contest the elections in this atmosphere. “I won’t contest these elections in this atmosphere, with moral responsibility. For fifty years, I have been a loyal soldier of the party,” Gehlot said. On being asked if he will remain Rajasthan CM, Gehlot said, “I won’t decide that, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will decide that.” “One-line resolution is our tradition. Unfortunately, a situation arose that resolution wasn’t passed. It was my moral responsibility (to pass the resolution), but despite being a CM I couldn’t get it passed,” he added. Talking to reporters, Gehlot said the party works under the Congress president and decisions will be taken in the time to come. He said Congress workers worry about the direction in which the country is heading and tackling the issue was more important. There are major indications, about the developments to come, from Gehlot-Sonia meeting. While CM Gehlot offered to Sonia that he would resign from his post and the party matriarch did not respond to the offer, Gehlot was then questioned by media about continuing as CM to which he said, “Sonia Gandhi will take this decision.” Now political experts are analyzing Gehlot’s expressions. Although Gehlot does not let anyone know his ‘Mann Ki Baat’, but Gehlot offered his resignation to Sonia after being upset by Sunday’s incident. Now Sonia Gandhi has to decide on Gehlot’s future. CM Ashok Gehlot met Mukul Wasnik on Thursday morning at Rajasthan House, during his stay in Delhi. The duo met for about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, in the evening, Gehlot met Anand Sharma at Jodhpur House.

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