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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot still in Congress prez race

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New Delhi, Sep 27: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is still in the Congress presidential race despite annoying the Congress high command and notably Gandhis over the current political crisis.

Gehlot is "still in contention for the post of Congress president and not ruled out", top party sources told NDTV. It comes at a time when the reports claim that the Rajasthan Chief Minister has ruled out of the race.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was pushed by the central leadership to contest the party's presidential poll. However, he wanted to retain his existing post and be the party president if elected. However, Rahul Gandhi was against it and batted for the "one-man, one-post" concept in line with the Chintan Shivir reforms earlier this year.

The story take a surprising turn after 90 odd MLAs refused to attend CLP meeting on Sunday evening where the name of the next Chief Minister of Rajasthan was to be decided.

With Gehlot most certainly out of running, who will be next president of CongressWith Gehlot most certainly out of running, who will be next president of Congress

The rebel MLAs met the Speaker and submitted their resignation despite central observer Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken requesting them to come for one-on-one discussion to sort out the differences. This development has irked the Congress Working Committee members as well as the Gandhis as it caused the party a huge embarrassment when it has started its ambitious 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' to unite people.

Amid a massive political crisis in the Congress in Rajasthan, senior party leader and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot arrived in the national capital on Tuesday. However, there was no confirmation about his schedule here with sources close to him saying that no meetings were fixed so far.

Pilot's visit comes even as the top Congress leadership continued to grapple with the situation in the party's state unit.

Party president Sonia Gandhi is awaiting a written report on the crisis from Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken. The two leaders were sent as observers to Jaipur for a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.

Rajasthan crisis: 'If a gen secy is on mission…’, Gehlot loyalist targets MakenRajasthan crisis: 'If a gen secy is on mission…’, Gehlot loyalist targets Maken

On the other hand, the party's chief whip in Rajasthan, Mahesh Joshi said a meeting of the MLAs loyal to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was not called to mount pressure on the party high-command.

Joshi said this while reacting to All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer Ajay Maken's "indiscipline" remark for holding the meeting. He said the MLAs have expressed their view so that it reaches the high-command.

Joshi also said if the MLAs were not loyal to the Congress, the government would have fallen much earlier. "I am saying again and again that speaking your mind is not mounting pressure. We have not created any pressure on the high-command but have tried to express our views. Whatever decision the leadership takes, we will obey it," he told reporters.

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