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Did Sonia Gandhi Offer Congress Chief Post To Ashok Gehlot? His Reply

Sonia Gandhi has said she cant continue in the role because of her poor health

New Delhi:

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today denied that Sonia Gandhi had offered him the post of Congress president and said he would continue to work as a disciplined soldier of the party.

“I’m hearing this from the media. I don’t know about this. I’m fulfilling duties that have been assigned to me,” Mr Gehlot told reporters in Gujarat.

“This has been doing the rounds in the media for a long time. You keep talking about it. Nobody knows what is going to be decided,” he remarked.

Mr Gehlot is seen as the front-runner for the post if all three Gandhis turn it down. But he reasserted today that there was no question of anyone other than Rahul Gandhi leading the party.

“We will try till the very last to ensure that Rahul Gandhi becomes Congress president,” he said. 

A report in The Hindu newspaper this morning said Sonia Gandhi, before flying abroad for a medical check-up, spoke with Mr Gehlot on Tuesday in a closed-door meeting and asked him to take over.

Speaking to NDTV, Mr Gehlot said he had paid a courtesy call before going to Gujarat. “She has given me two tasks – the Gujarat election and Chief Minister of Rajasthan. My job is to continue as Chief Minister at present – that is my responsibility and that there is no anti-incumbency at present – and to look after the elections of Gujarat,” he said.

On whether he considered himself a candidate for Congress president, he said: “I never become the candidate. I do whatever the high command tells me. I have been a disciplined soldier all my life. I will remain so.”

The Congress has to elect a new chief by September 20.

Rahul Gandhi has refused to return as Congress president after he quit over the party’s abject defeat in the 2019 national election. He has reportedly asserted that it is time for a non-Gandhi to step up.

Sonia Gandhi has said she can’t continue in the role because of her poor health.

Amid speculation that he leads the list of the “non-Gandhi” options before the party, Mr Gehlot had said earlier this week that Rahul Gandhi must respect the sentiments of Congress workers and accept the top post. 

“If Rahul Gandhi does not become the party president, it will be a disappointment for the Congressmen in the country. Many people will sit at home and we will suffer. He (Rahul Gandhi) should accept this post by himself, understanding the sentiments of the common Congress people in the country,” Mr Gehlot had said.

The Congress is already running late on the start of its internal election. The schedule may be announced later this week after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which will be attended virtually by Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress has been led by a member of the Gandhi family for much of its 136-year-old history.

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