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Rajasthan Polls: Suspense over CM face on, Congress to take call today

Congress said the chief minister’s name will be decided after the meeting of legislators on Wednesday.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 12, 2018, 11.20 AM IST
Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot (R) and Sachin Pilot (L) shake hands as K.C. Venugopal looks on after the declaration of Rajasthan Assembly election result in Jaipur.
Despite going to the polls without any chief ministerial candidate, Congress has managed to win the Rajasthan elections by bagging 99 out of 199 seats in the 200-seat assembly. It’s ally RLD won a seat in Bharatpur to take the tally to 100.

Polls in Ramgarh had to be postponed due to the death of a BSP candidate. Now that Congress is going to form the government in the state, all eyes are on the name of the chief minister. Congress contested the elections with the combined effort of senior leaders. But Congress state chief Sachin Pilot and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot emerged as front runners for the top post. Former Union minister C P Joshi has already announced that he is not in the race for the chief minister’s post.

There were reports of a tussle between Gehlot and Pilot for the post in the run-up to the elections. However, Congress president Rahul Gandhi brokered peace between the two and put up the party’s united face to take on Vasundhara Raje’s BJP.

Congress said the chief minister’s name will be decided after the meeting of legislators on Wednesday. The central observer K C Venugopal met senior leaders, including state in-charge Avinash Pande, Pilot and Gehlot to discuss the strategy.

“The decision on the chief minister’s name will be taken after the meeting with elected members. Avinash Pande and I will meet legislators individually to seek their opinion. The party will then decide the name,” said Venugopal. Earlier on Tuesday, Gehlot said Congress will decide on the candidate as per its requirement.

“We are loyal soldiers of the party. Wherever the party will feel my need, I will go. In 2013, Congress got reduced to 21 in Rajasthan assembly and the party could send only 44 to Parliament. Now we need to increase our numbers in Lok Sabha to form the government at the Centre,” he said. Recalling his tenure as the chief minister between 2008 and 2013, he said Congress had won 20 Lok Sabha seats from Rajasthan in 2009.

“The party will decide about roles of the leaders,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pilot thanked the people of the state and said the high command will take a call on who will become the chief minister. “Rahul Gandhiji will decide this,” he said. Political analysts believe that Congress, which has just touched majority, will be needing the support of independents and BSP for the smooth running of the government.

“Congress may look at an experienced hand who can manage the show with the help of independents and BSP. In 2008, there was a similar situation and Ashok Gehlot ran the government successfully,” said political analyst Gopal Goyal.

However, a senior party leader said Congress would be needing Gehlot’s experience and political guile at the Centre as it will be in straight contest with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.“Ashok Gehlot is an organisational general secretary. He has been instrumental in putting up good performances in Karnataka, Gujarat and also Punjab, where he was chairman of the screening committee. Rahul Gandhi would need a leader like him at the Centre,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Anti-incumbency & anger against Vasundhara Raje government hit BJP

Dantaramgarh- BJP’s Harish Chand Kumawat won against Congress’ Virendra Singh by 148 votes

Asind- Jabbar Singh Sankhala of BJP won against Congress’ Manish Mewara by 234 votes

Pillobanga- BJP’s Dharmendra Kumar won against Congress’ Vinod Kumar by 278 votes

Chomu- BJP’s sitting MLA Ramalal Sharma won against Congress’ Bhagwan Sahai Saini by 514 votes

Phulera- BJP’s Nirmal Kumawat won against Congress’ Vidyadhar Singh by 567 votes

Bundi- BJP’s sitting MLA Ashok Dogra won against Congress’ Harimohan Sharma by 713 votes

Fatehpur- Congress’ Hakam Ali Khan won against BJP’s Sunita Kumari by 860 votes Pokaran- Shale Mohammed of Congress won against BJP’s Pratappuri by 929 votes

Siwana- BJP’s Hameer Singh Bhayal won against independent Balram by 957 votes

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