'I will contest...' Ashok Gehlot officially joins race for new Congress president, no Gandhi in running
Ashok Gehlot has announced that he will be running for the post of Congress president, and added that Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that no one from the Gandhi family should become the party chief.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday announced that he will be contesting for the post of Congress President. Speaking to the media, he said, "I'll fix the date soon to file nomination. It's a need for the Opposition to be strong, looking at the current position of the country." He added that Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken and Sonia Gandhi will decide the further proceedings “if I become the party chief.”
He further said that Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that no one from the Gandhi family should become the party chief. The Rajasthan Chief Minister met with Rahul Gandhi in Kerala, where he joined his "Bharat Jodo Yatra" on Thursday evening. Addressing the reporters, Gehlot said, "I requested him multiple times to accept everyone's wish that he returns as Congress President. He told me he had decided that no one from the Gandhi family should become the next chief."
There was a major push within the party for Rahul to take up the top job, even as the leader maintained that someone from outside the Gandhi family should helm the grand old party.
Gehlot is believed to be the Gandhis' leading choice for the role as the Congress prepares for its first non-Gandhi chief in over 20 years. The 71-year-old Congress veteran has been holding out, apparently because he is reluctant to give up the role of Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
Former Union Minister Manish Tewari and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh are also likely to join the unprecedented Congress contest. Aspirants can put up their names till September 30. The election will be held on October 17 and the Congress will get its new chief two days later.