New Delhi, Dec 13: The race for the CM post in Rajasthan is turning out to be a thriller that is giving tough time to Congress President Rahul Gandhi. State Congress Chief Sachin Pilot's supporters have created a ruckus In Jaipur, Supporters jammed a highway and set objects on fire. Pilot asked his supporters to remain calm, while saying "I have full confidence in Central leadership".
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is ahead in the race for CM, while state Congress chief Sachin Pilot has reportedly refused to accept deputy CM post. Both Gehlot and Pilot met party President Rahul Gandhi at different times, before returning to Jaipur. There was a lot of slogan shouting by Pilot supporters in Delhi. Pilot supporters again raised slogans in his favour at airport when he landed in Jaipur. The name of 67-year-old Gehlot, a two-time Chief Minister, likely to be announced by the party in Delhi on Thursday evening after Congress President Rahul Gandhi completes discussions with senior party leaders, party sources said.Gehlot returned to Jaipur, apparently after being told of the party's decision to pick him as the Chief Minister.The party appears to have preferred Gehlot over Pilot in view of the mandate it got in Rajasthan, where it has fallen short of legislative majority by one seat in the 200-member Assembly.The party, however, has the backing of its pre-poll ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which won one seat, six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs and a majority of the 13 Independents, who are mostly Congress rebels.Pilot reportedly put up a fight staking his claim to the post on the ground that he had galvanised the party after the defeat in 2013, when he was appointed the state party chief.On Tuesday and Wednesday, the central Congress observers, K.C. Venugopal and Avinash Pandey, met the newly elected MLAs in a bid to find out who they would prefer as Chief Minister.The MLAs authorised Gandhi to take the call on the Chief Minister's name.Both Gehlot and Pilot had also called on Governor Kalyan Singh on Wednesday evening and staked claim to form the government. Both contested the Assembly elections and won their seats.Amid intense negotiations, Rahul on Thursday said that he will soon announce the names of Chief Ministers for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh."We are taking inputs from different people in the party -- from party workers, MLAs... We are getting a comprehensive answer to what the Congress party and others feel... of course you have to see a Chief Minister soon," he told reporters outside Parliament, as he left for his party office to meet Rajasthan contenders Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who reached New Delhi earlier in the day.In Madhya Pradesh, state Congress chief and veteran MP Kamal Nath and Jyotiradhitya Scindia are the two contenders for the Chief Ministerial post, with Kamal Nath being the front runnerWhile Bhupesh Baghel has emerged as the front-runner in the race in Chhattisgarh, where the Congress won a landslide victory.On Wednesday, Gandhi through an audio message, congratulated the party for its victory in the assembly elections in the three states and urged them to reveal their choice of Chief Minister."I want to ask you an important question: Who should be the chief minister? Please mention just one name. I'm the only person who would know whom you are naming. No one in the party will know. Please speak after the beep," he was heard saying.
News24 Bureau/ IANS