Rajasthan Polls: Gehlot, Pilot to contest assembly elections

New Delhi [India], Nov 14 (ANI): The Congress on Wednesday announced that former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and state party president Sachin Pilot will be contesting the upcoming Rajasthan assembly elections scheduled for December 7. While Gehlot may contest from his home turf Sardarpura constituency, the picture about Pilot's seat is still unclear. The Congress has not announced its chief ministerial candidate for the state as yet. The development assumes significance as the Congress has decided not to field any chief ministerial aspirant in the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, where the elections are scheduled for November 28, 2018. Jyotiraditya Scindia, Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh are not contesting the polls, while the party's another heavyweight Arun Yadav is taking on Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Budhni seat. In the backdrop of speculations that there are differences within the party over who would be the face of the Congress in the elections, Gehlot denied of any such difference. Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Gehlot announced the induction of Member of Parliament Harish Meena, who was with the Bharatiya Janata Party earlier, into the Congress fold. Gehlot said: "Harish Meena has joined the Congress party. There is a queue of people willing to join the Congress, but this decision can only be taken by the party president Rahul Gandhi. In five states, the condition of our party is good and so the BJP is scared." Further sharpening his attack on the BJP, Gehlot said: "Amit Shah spoke about mission 180 in the past but now he is silent." He also alleged that the people associated with the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have no contribution in India's freedom struggle. Attacking the RSS, he added: "RSS has now touched upon the Ram Mandir issue. Their chief Mohan Bhagwat had said that the Ram Mandir issue is not theirs but now within 15 days he has changed his stance and wants the temple to be built through the course of law." The BJP on Sunday had released the first list of 131 candidates for the upcoming polls. The names were announced by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister and party leader JP Nadda. As per the list, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will contest from Jhalrapatan assembly constituency from where she has been contesting since 2003. The BJP has fielded 25 new faces and 85 sitting MLAs for the assembly polls. Besides, 12 women candidates, as many as 17 Scheduled Castes and 19 Scheduled Tribes have made it to the first list. The assembly elections will take place in a single phase for all 200 seats on December 7. The counting of votes will take place on December 11.
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