Ashok Gehlot’s late-night meeting with MLAs in Jaipur sets off buzz about next move

Ashok Gehlot’s late-night meeting with MLAs in Jaipur sets off buzz about next move

JAIPUR: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday summoned the party’s legislators for a late evening meeting before he travels to Delhi tomorrow morning.

Gehlot is widely expected to file his papers for the Congress presidential election when the party starts accepting nominations for the election between September 24 and 30. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is October 8. To be sure, Gehlot hasn’t yet spoken of his plan to contest the presidential election.

A senior Congress leader in Jaipur said Gehlot is scheduled to leave Jaipur for New Delhi on Wednesday at 10am from where he is likely to leave for Kerala to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Congress leader and former president Rahul Gandhi.

“He will return to New Delhi on September 24 and will be in the national capital till September 28. During this period, he is likely to file nomination for Congress president election,” a Congress leader aware of the matter said.

A cabinet minister in Ashok Gehlot’s team said the chief minister has called for a meeting with MLAs at 10pm at the chief minister’s residence. “The agenda is not clear,” the minister said, adding that he received intimation about the late-night meeting only on Tuesday evening.

Party leaders said Ashok Gehlot was expected to brief party legislators about his Delhi visit and was expected to hint about his plans.

The meeting has been convened after the dinner hosted for Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar at the chief minister’s residence.

There has been speculation about Gehlot’s successor at the chief minister’s office if he does indeed throw his hat in the ring to lead the party and wins the election. It is not clear what this would mean for Sachin Pilot, the former deputy chief minister who quit the post when he led a rebellion against Gehlot in 2020.

Pilot, however, fell in line after the intervention of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and was given some assurances. His camp has repeatedly said the party was yet to deliver on those assurances.

Tuesday evening’s meeting comes at a time when Sachin Pilot is in Kerala with Rahul Gandhi. Hours after news of Gehlot’s meeting of MLAs emerged, Pilot tweeted photographs from the yatra.

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