Ashok Gehlot to be Rajasthan CM, Pilot his deputy

New Delhi: Ashok Gehlot is the new Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Sachin Pilot has agreed to be his deputy, Congress announced on its Twitter handle, shortly after Rahul Gandhi dropped a big hint that the tussle between the two leaders was over.

The Congress president tweeted a photo with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, all three grinning, with the caption: “The United Colours of Rajasthan”.

It was a replica of his photo to signal the Madhya Pradesh detente last evening.

The Congress has been in firefighting mode since it scooped big BJP states Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in state election results on Tuesday.

News agency ANI had earlier reported that Gehlot would be named as the Rajasthan’s top post.

The Congress president had summoned the two leaders to his Tughlaq Lane house in the national capital earlier in the day, his third meeting with the Rajasthan Congress leaders in two days. The Congress’ central observer for Rajasthan KC Venugopal and in-charge of party affairs in the state Avinash Pande were also present at Gandhi’s residence during the discussions.

Congress leaders had twice yesterday indicated that Gehlot, the 67-year-old war horse, had emerged as the front-runner in the race to the chief minister’s chair.

Twice on Thursday, Gandhi called Ashok Gehlot, 67, back from the airport; his last meeting with the veteran ran well past midnight. He had met Pilot, 41, just before that.

There were reports that Sachin Pilot, 41, who was tasked to revive the Congress in Rajasthan after Vasundhara Raje’s stunning victory in 2013 state elections, was unhappy at the choice. The BJP had then netted 163 seats against the Congress’s 21. This time, the Congress raised its tally to 99 of the 199 seats that went to polls.

This morning, news agency PTI said, Jitendra Singh, a former Union minister and Rajasthan leader, met Pilot, 41, earlier in the day and then went to Gandhi.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had also denied there were any differences within its Rajasthan unit. “There is no dispute or difference within the Congress units on chief minister’s post in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh,” Surjewala told reporters.

“Be it Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh, a due process of discussions is on among the leaders so that we can form a good government. Madhya Pradesh has been decided and chief minister’s issue will be decided for Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in a day or two also,” he said.