After suffering a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi had offered to step down from the position of the Congress President. The Congress Working Committee nonetheless didn’t accept Rahul’s resignation. However, Rahul is adamant on his stand and is keen to resign. According to reports, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is likely to be appointed as Congress party President. If Gehlot becomes the party president, a person other than from the Gandhi family will be appointed for the coveted post after 20 years.
BJP MLA Satish Poonia said, “There was pressure on Congress party to look for a new leader after the Lok Sabha poll results. The Congress is yet to come out of the dynasty politics trend. They have not inducted new leaders and they have not got the opportunity to take the party forward. Therefore, they might induct a fresh face for the President’s post.”
Often allegations have been made against the Congress party for following dynasty politics thereby sidelining talented leaders from the outfit. By proposing Gehlot’s name, the party is trying to shed the allegation of following dynasty politics. Moreover, Rahul Gandhi also had a reservation against appointing Priyanka Gandhi for Congress President’s post. This time Rahul wants a person from outside the Gandhi family to become the Congress President. Congress is soon going to make an announcement in this regard. Gehlot has been asked to be prepared to take up the role. Gehlot had earlier been the general secretary in-charge of the organisation for the party before he became the Rajasthan Chief Minister.
When AV spoke to Advocate Manisha Rote, Mahila Pradesh Congress General Secretary, she said, “Rahul Gandhi listens to the voice of the common people. He might take the decision to appoint Ashok Gehlot as the party President in the interest of the people. Dynasty politics is prevalent in other parties also.”
“A candidate must possess the capability to take such a huge responsibility of leading the party. If Rahul feels some leader is capable then he will take a decision in this regard. Both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi will look after the progress of the party,” she added.
Speculations are rife in Rajasthan too that if Ashok Gehlot is appointed as the Congress President, then who will be his successor for the Chief Minister’s post of the state. If Gehlot becomes the Congress President, then Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Sachin Pilot will become the front runner for the Chief Minister’s post of Rajasthan. After Congress party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha, polls there have been talks about revamping the party cadre and appointing a new President.
Political journalist Nilesh Khare said, “Congress definitely wants to clean its image by saying that they are not a family driven party. They will choose somebody who is very clean and intellectual kind of person to lead the party. There is a need to induct a new face and somebody who is not connected with the Gandhi family.”
Gehlot is a senior Congress leader and possesses good experience of managing the outfit. He also shares a good rapport with Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi. He is in good books of senior party leaders of the outfit. Gehlot had been elected as Rajasthan Chief Minister thrice and has been elected as MP for five times. He also had done a good job for managing the Congress party’s campaigning activities in Gujarat. Since Gehlot belongs to backward caste, he can attract Dalits and OBCs to the party fold. All these factors work in Gehlot’s favour as he can amicably manage the party activities.
If Gehlot is appointed as the Congress President then the responsibility of managing Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee will fall on Sachin Pilot. Last year, the Gujjar community had held protest to press forward Pilot’s name for a chief ministerial post. They had blocked the highway and vandalised buses in Dausa district in support of the agitation.
After the announcement of the 2018 Rajasthan assembly polls, the Rajasthan Pradesh committee stood divided over the nomination of names for a chief ministerial post. Several hoardings were put across the state demanding Sachin Pilot to be made the Chief Minister.