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Sonia is not unhappy with me: Rajasthan CM

Shahid K Abbas in New Delhi | January 15, 2003 01:57 IST

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday put at rest speculation that Congress president Sonia Gandhi is contemplating replacing him as part of a decision to sack non-performing Congress chief ministers.

"In the last four years (I have been chief minister), I never got the feeling that the Congress president is unhappy with me," Gehlot said while emerging out of 10, Janpath Road, the Congress president's residence, after an hour-long meeting with her.

Asked if he was summoned to Delhi to discuss the defeat of Congress candidates in the recent by-elections, he said, "Whenever I come to Delhi, I make it a point to meet her (the Congress president). This time, I had been in Delhi for the last three days, but only today got an appointment."

The meeting assumes significance in view of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh being asked to step down following complaints of non-performance.

Gehlot denied that there was any discussion with Sonia Gandhi on his or RPCC president Girija Vyas' performance in their respective posts.

Describing the meeting as routine, the chief minister said, "The state assembly elections are due after ten months and there was a meeting recently in Jaipur about our manifesto. This (meeting with Sonia Gandhi) was a follow-up to that as also to decide some of the new programmes."

About the possibility of a reshuffle in the Rajasthan Congress unit, Gehlot said, "This is an issue which only Sonia Gandhi or the general secretary in-charge of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee can decide on."

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