Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday said he will abide by the wishes of party workers on whether to contest the Congress chief polls, but asserted that he would make one last-ditch effort to convince Rahul Gandhi to take up the post.
Speaking with reporters after landing here from Jaipur, Gehlot said he will take decisions with which the Congress is strengthened.
”The party and high command have given me everything. I have been on posts for 40-50 years. For me no post is important, I will fulfill any responsibility given to me by the party,” he said.
He also asserted that not only the Gandhi family, but scores of Congress members have faith in him.
”I am very fortunate that I have got love and affection from Congress men and women across the country and they have faith in me,” Gehlot said.
”Therefore, if they ask me to fill the form (nomination), I will not be able to refuse…Will speak with friends. I was given the responsibility of being Rajasthan chief minister, I am fulfilling that responsibility as a CM and will continue to do so,” he said.
He said he wants to serve Congress, wherever he is useful, be it Rajasthan or Delhi.
”Party has given me everything, post is not so important for me. If it is up to me I would take no post, I would join Rahul Gandhi in the Bharat Jodo Yatra looking at the situation in the country, the Constitution is being destroyed, and democracy is in danger. They are destroying the country,” he said.
On whether he would keep the post of CM if he takes up the post of party president, Gehlot cited an example, saying that if a minister in a state stands for Congress president election, that person can stay a minister and also contest polls.
”Time will tell whether I remain (CM) or not. I would like to stay where the party benefits from me, I will not back down,” he asserted.
Asked about the prospective contest with Shashi Tharoor, he said the contest should take place as it is good for the internal democracy of the party.
The process for filing nominations for the election will be held from September 24 to 30.
The date of scrutiny of the nomination papers would be October 1, while the last date of withdrawal of nominations would be October 8.
The election, if there is more than one candidate, will take place on October 17, while counting of votes, if necessary, and the counting of votes and the declaration of results would be on October 19.