Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday announced that he will not contest the Congress presidential polls as he took moral responsibility for the political crisis in his state, and said the decision on whether he would remain CM would be taken by party chief Sonia Gandhi.
After meeting the party president at her 10 Janpath residence, Gehlot told reporters that he apologised to Gandhi for the developments on Sunday when MLAs supporting him defied the central observers and thwarted their move to hold a meeting of party legislators.
Instead, they held a parallel meet to pitch for Gehlot's continuation or the guarantee that his bete noire Sachin Pilot does not replace him.
Gehlot, a three-time state chief minister, described himself as a disciplined soldier of the party and expressed his sadness over the turn of events in the state.
Asked if he will continue as chief minister, Gehlot said Gandhi will decide on the issue.
"In the last 50 years, I have worked as a loyal Congress soldier from the time of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narasimha Rao and Sonia ji, be it becoming a central minister or state unit chief, general secretary or CM for the third time, I cannot forget that. The events that happened (on Sunday) has shaken all of us. Only I know how hurt I am because a message went that I want to remain CM," Gehlot said.
"I have apologised to Sonia ji because a simple resolution, which is our tradition and which we always pass, a situation emerged that it could not be passed. I, as a CLP leader, whatever the reasons, could not get the resolution passed," he said.
He also said that in the aftermath of the events, he has decided that he will not fight the party president polls.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who is likely to file his nomination for the Congress president's post on Friday, met Shashi Tharoor, who said they agreed that theirs is "not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest" among colleagues.
Singh met the party MP from Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday after collecting nomination papers for the polls.
"Received a visit from Digvijaya Singh this afternoon. I welcome his candidacy for the Presidency of our Party," Tharoor said in a tweet.
"We both agreed that ours is not a battle between rivals but a friendly contest among colleagues. All we both want is that whoever prevails, @incIndia will win!" he said.
Tharoor has already declared that he will file his nomination for the post of Congress president on Friday, the last day of the nomination process.
Polling for the post will take place on October 17 while the result will be announced on October 19.