Rajasthan Chief Minister: Rahul Gandhi tweeted a photo of him with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.
New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi dropped a big hint today that the tussle for Rajasthan chief minister was over, tweeting a photo with rivals Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, all three smiling. It was a replica of his photo to announce a Madhya Pradesh détente. This morning, violent protests on a highway in Rajasthan signaled a tough call facing the Congress president. The Congress president called an end to a similar fight in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday with a photo he tweeted, flanked by rivals Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Kamal Nath was named Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister after midnight, following multiple meetings in which Rahul Gandhi persuaded rival Jyotiraditya Scindia to stand down.
Here are the top 10 developments in this big story:
- This morning, a group of protesters from the Gujjar community, which supports Sachin Pilot, blocked the highway at Alwar. The protesters have now been cleared from the highway and are now sitting on the side of the road.
- Sachin Pilot had appealed for "calm and decorum" last evening when a similar protest took place in Karauli. "I have full faith in the leadership, we will welcome whatever Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi decide," he tweeted.
- Sachin Pilot, 41, who took over as Rajasthan Congress chief after the party's rout in the 2013 state polls, believes he has earned the top job after rebuilding the organisation and leading the Congress to a victory on Tuesday.
- Many leaders, however, prefer veteran two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot for Rajasthan's chieftainship at a time the party is preparing for the 2019 national election.
- Both leaders are in Delhi as Rahul Gandhi weighs his decision and each had a one-on-one meeting with the Congress chief late last night. Mr Gehlot, 67, was called back from the Delhi airport last night when he was about to fly back to Rajasthan capital Jaipur, apparently after being told he would be named chief minister.
- Sources say Sachin Pilot has refused to give up his claim to the top post, arguing that the party needs to promote a younger leadership.
- Party observer for Rajasthan KC Venugopal, who was at the meetings, said: "Taking decision on chief minister is not an easy job. The final decision will be taken tomorrow (today, Friday)."
- As the experience versus youth battle for the top post in three states seemed to head nowhere all day Thursday, the Congress president even consulted his mother Sonia Gandhi and sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
- For Chhattisgarh, frontrunners TS Singh Deo and Bhupesh Baghel have been called to Delhi from Raipur for discussions. Sources say Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel will probably get the job, although insiders say there is also considerable support for Mr Singh Deo.
- Earlier on Thursday, a scuffle took place outside the house of Mr Baghel, where the party supporters had gathered, waiting to hear Delhi's pick for the Chief Minister's post. It is not known who were involved.
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