With the adroit Ashok Gehlot all set to contest for the post of president of the Congress party, speculation is rife about who will be the next Chief minister of Rajasthan.
Earlier, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi made it clear that one person will hold one post, which means Gehlot, who is the favourite for the top party post, will have to leave his position as CM of Rajasthan if he wins the election.
While Gehlot has said that if he becomes AICC president, it is the party high command that will decide the next CM. However, it is unlikely that Gehlot will not have a say in finalising the name of his successor.
At present, the names Sachin Pilot and assembly speaker CP Joshi are doing the rounds to succeed Gehlot. However, given the not-so-secret rivalry between Pilot and Gehlot, it is unlikely that the latter will agree to the candidature of his former deputy.
“Gehlot is not ready to make Pilot the chief minister. Apart from their rivalry, Pilot tried to topple Gehlot’s government. Gehlot has pointed this out in front of the Gandhis too, as he questioned the loyalty of Pilot, who is considered close to Rahul Gandhi,” a party source told The New Indian. The source added that it won’t be easy for Pilot to get the post of CM after the election of Gehlot.
Pilot, on the other hand, has already made his move. He had reached out to the MLAs in Rajasthan. He also met Rahul Gandhi in Kochin during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Along with Joshi, who is considered a close aide of Gehlot, the name of Govind Singh Dotasra, the state party chief, is also doing the rounds. However, sources in the party said that both these leaders possess a strong mindset and think independently. “They will not be easy to control,” the source said.
“CP Joshi is a strong leader with good political influence. Dotasra was in the Pilot’s lobby before leaning towards Gehlot. So, his loyalty is questionable. And being a strong leader, he will not dance to anyone’s tunes,” the source said.
“Gehlot is a sharp politician and we cannot ascertain who will be the CM in the end. There is a possibility that Rajasthan could see a new CM face like Punjab saw in Chiranjit Singh Channi,” the source hinted.
Keeping with this view, the names of current education minister BD Kalla and Mamata Bhupesh, minister for women and child development, are also discussed. Both leaders are said to be loyal to Gehlot and can be easily controlled.
While everything depends on Gehlot’s election to the post of party president at the national level, the political potboiler has already started in Rajasthan.