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Gehlot Cuts It Too Fine, Says Sorry To Sonia And Checkmates Pilot

Emerging from a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced that he will not contest the Congress presidential polls. His meeting with Sonia at 10 Janpath in New Delhi came just  after a series of missteps he took defying diktats for change in party leadership last weekend; it was also the penultimate day ahead of filing of papers for top Congress post. Gehlot said he had apologised to Sonia for the developments in Jaipur on September 25 when MLAs supporting him defied the high command and skipped the Congress Legislature Party meeting at his residence and submitted their resignations to the Assembly Speaker. While it is not clear if Gehlot’s public regret to Sonia was enough to salvage the damage caused to Congress leadership’s authority in Jaipur, questions still persist over what will happen to Sachin Pilot. Will Pilot remain in the party after this, eating humble pie? When asked if he will continue as chief minister, Gehlot said Sonia Gandhi would decide. He was clearly hinting that the Congress had little choice here in terms of the number of MLAs backing Pilot. Gehlot asserted that he had always been a disciplined soldier of the Congress for 50 years. In Rajasthan, the Congress high command cannot afford to please both Gehlot and Pilot. Either Gehlot hangs in till 2023 assembly polls or the younger Pilot explores other options.