Sachin Pilot's supporters raise slogans outside AICC office as Ashok Gehlot arrives
Amid a protracted crisis in the Congress, the supporters of Sachin Pilot gathered at the AICC office in the national capital Friday and demanded that he be elected as the party president or be made the chief minister of Rajasthan.
As soon as Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot arrived at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office, the supporters began raising slogans in favour of Pilot.
"We want to see Sachin Pilot as the chief minister of Rajasthan or as the national president of Congress," said a supporter of Pilot.
"Rahul Gandhi is also young; the future of India is in the hands of the youth. Till the youth is not given a top post, Congress will not get power. Pilot knows about problems at the ground level and what the party workers go through. We demand he be made the party president," he added.
Gehlot Thursday announced he was pulling out of the Congress presidential polls following the political turmoil in Rajasthan.
Pilot's supporters wanted to see him as the next Rajasthan CM in the event Gehlot shifted to Delhi. The young leader met interim party president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi Thursday. After the meeting, he said the decision of the Congress chief will be final on who will be at the helm of affairs in Rajasthan.
Gehlot, meanwhile, has said he had apologised to Sonia Gandhi for the problems emerging in the state triggered by his loyalists.
Today is the last day of the filing of nominations for the Congress internal polls.
And earlier today, Digvijaya Singh said he was dropping out of the race for the top party post and announced his support for Mallikarjun Kharge, who is likely to be in the fray.
Singh was to file his nomination papers today. However, after reports of Kharge also mulling contesting the party's internal polls, he decided to drop out.
Singh met Kharge this morning at the latter's residence. Speaking to reporters here, he said he "cannot think of contesting an election" against a senior leader like Kharge.
"Kharge is my leader and my senior. I went to his residence yesterday and asked if he is contesting. If he does, I will not fill up the form. He said he did not intend to contest. I came to know through the media that he is a candidate. I went to meet him this morning. I said if he is filing the nomination, I am with him. He is a senior and respected leader of the party and I cannot think of contesting an election against him," he said.
Meanwhile, ahead of filing his nomination Friday, Shashi Tharoor said that there is "no rivalry" among party leaders who are in the fray, adding that it is a "friendly contest".
"We all share the same ideology, values and ideals. We want the party to be strengthened. It is a friendly contest, no rivalry," Tharoor told reporters.
Nominations for the post of Congress president close at 3 pm today and results will be declared on October 19.
With the Gandhis not running for the top post, the grand old party is all set to get a non-Gandhi president after over 25 years.