Cong discusses next CM, supporters throng party office
Jaipur: Supporters choked roads to the Rajasthan Congress headquarters on Wednesday as the party celebrated its victory in the assembly polls and held discussions there to pick the state's next chief minister.
Similar crowds of party workers and supporters were witnessed a decade ago when the Congress got the mandate to form the government in 2008. Ashok Gehlot was picked as the chief minister then by the party. This time also he is a frontrunner for the post along with the Pradesh Congress Committee head Sachin Pilot.
The Congress Legislature Party met in the morning and passed a single-line resolution leaving the final decision to party president Rahul Gandhi. Meetings between office bearers from the All India Congress Committee and individual MLAs continued inside even after this. Amid these consultations at the Sansar Chandra Road office, some Sachin Pilot supporters shouted slogans outside.
A large number of policemen were deployed outside the party office. After Gandhi takes a call on the next Congress Legislature Party leader - who will then go on to become the chief minister - a second CLP meeting is expected to take place. Then a delegation will meet Governor Kalyan Singh to stake claim to form the government. MLAs loyal to both Pilot and Gehlot have been in touch with the two main contenders since the results came in Tuesday. Some rebel MLAs who contested as independents after being denied the party ticket were in touch with Ashok Gehlot, party leaders said.
The Congress won 99 seats and its alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal got one out of the 199 seats for which elections were held on December 7. The House has 200 seats but elections were put off on one seat because of the death of a candidate. The party is also looking for support from independents MLAs and non-BJP parties.
The Bahujan Samaj Party won six seats in the state. Earlier in the day, BSP chief Mayawati offered support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In 2008, Ashok Gehlot was nominated as the Congress Legislature Party leader after intense consultations. Last time, there was a pressure from the Jat lobby for a chief minister from the community, but Gehlot who comes from the Mali community was finally picked.