Rajasthan: Suspense continues over CM, party delegation to meet governor at 7 pm
Jaipur: Who will be Rajasthan's new Congress Chief Minister? The question remained unanswered on Wednesday as the first round of meeting of newly elected MLAs failed to decide on a leader.
Both former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and state Congress President Sachin Pilot reached the Congress office to attend the meeting of MLAs which was to choose the leader of the Congress Legislature Party.
Both Pilot and Gehlot are leading contenders for the top post amid slogan shouting by supporters.
Congress sources said both Gehlot and Pilot supporters were in equal numbers and hence a consensus had been built so that the Congress High Command -- an euphemism for party President Rahul Gandhi -- can take a call on the CM's post.
Meanwhile, Congress observer K.C. Venugopal was taking feedback from each MLA and his report shall soon be sent to Rahul Gandhi.
Once Gandhi decides on a name, the next meeting will be called to announce the name of the Rajasthan Chief Minister, said a Congress source.
Both Gehlot and Pilot have said the Congress leadership should take the final decision.
Heavy police deployment has been made at the venue to avoid any untoward incident.
Congress legislature party (CLP) in Rajasthan Wednesday passed a single-line resolution authorising party president Rahul Gandhi to decide name of the chief minister.
Party's observer K C Venugopal is seeking individual opinion of party legislators in the meeting, which is still underway at the state Congress office here.
"We have passed a resolution authorising Rahul Gandhi to take a final decision on the name of chief minister. We raised our hands and passed the resolution. After that, individual opinion is being sought from the MLAs," Congress lawmaker Parasram Mordia told reporters.
Mordia said that when he was asked about his opinion, he said his choice was "high-command", meaning whatever the party president decides.
"The party has won because of Rahul Gandhi and he has to take a call on that," he said.
MLA Shanti Dhariwal, who was home minister in the Ashok Gehlot government, also said that the legislators were giving their opinion about the chief minister candidate in the meeting.
Meanwhile, party legislator Vishvendra Singh expressed dissatisfaction over the resolution.
Singh, a Jat leader, attended the meeting in which the resolution was passed and later left after one-to-one meeting began. "What was the point to hold the meeting and sending the observer if the decision was to be taken by the party high-command only," he told reporters.
State Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, both frontrunners for the post, are present in the meeting.
The name of the chief minister will be announced in the evening and a Congress delegation will meet Governor Kalyan Singh at 7 PM to stake claim on government.
A Congress delegation will meet Governor Kalyan Singh at 7 PM Wednesday to stake claim on government in Rajasthan.
The governor has given an appointment to a Congress delegation at 7 PM today, Raj Bhawan sources said.
The delegation led by the chief ministerial candidate, to be decided by party president Rahul Gandhi on the basis of feedback from the MLAs, will call on the governor and stake claim to form government.
The contenders for the chief minister's post are Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, both of whom won huge victories in their constituencies.
"We have full majority and will stake claim to form government in the evening. We will take along all non-BJP parties and elected members who are against BJP and are willing to support us," Pilot told reporters at the Pradesh Congress Committee before the Congress Legislative Party meeting.
Asked about the choice of the chief minister, Pilot said the party's newly elected MLAs will debate the question, and the party president will take a decision after that. AICC General Secretary Avinash Pande and party's observer K C Venugopal will seek individual opinion of the party MLAs in the meeting.
The Congress emerged as the single largest party in Rajasthan in Tuesday's vote count, winning 99 seats. Its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won one seat for a total of 100 seats -- the required number to form government.
The BJP got 73 seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party won 6 seats. BSP leader Mayawati on Wednesday pledged support for the Congress. The CPI(M) got two seats, Independents won 13 and other parties got 6, according to the state Election Commission.