Except Gehlot, Congress chief minister hopefuls lose in Rajasthan

December 8th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Dec 8 (IANS) The Congress found itself in a piquant situation in Rajasthan as it raced towards victory in the assembly elections — all except one of its chief minister hopefuls was given a drubbing in the polls, including its state president.Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who ruled from 1998-2003, was the honourable exception having won his Sardarpura seat by a margin of about 13,000 votes. In an election that saw the Congress wrest the state back from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), all others in the running for the top political post in the state lost.

Heading the list was C.P. Joshi, president of the Congress unit and a front runner for chief minister who lost from the temple town of Nathdwara by a single vote. A recount had been ordered in the constituency.

Similarly, former state president B.D. Kalla lost from Bikaner (West), Pradhuman Singh from Rajakhera and Harendra Mirdha, considered an important Jat leader and son of former union minister Ramniwas Mirdha, from Nagaur.

“Call it a coincidence… or name it differently… but every one who was under consideration for the chief minister’s post other than Gehlot lost their election,” said Vijay Sharma, a political analyst.

Luck, he said, had favoured Gehlot.

“The party now has been left with very few choices like Gehlot, Girja Vyas and Sees Ram Ola,” a Congress worker said, adding that Gehlot might face some opposition from the Jats whose vote is considered crucial in 40-50 of the 200 assembly constituencies in the state.

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