The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sack cloud on Vyas, Gehlot set to stay

New Delhi, Jan. 15: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot may have soon get a pradesh Congress chief of his choice in place of Girija Vyas. Indications are that party president Sonia Gandhi might name a new PCC chief over the next few days.

Gehlot, who has withstood weeks of campaign by his detractors within the party for his removal, today held a third round — possibly the last — consultation with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, in which he is believed to have succeeded in convincing her of his case for a “friendly” PCC chief in place of Vyas in the run up to the November Assembly polls.

Today’s discussions with Sonia was a continuation of his meeting with her on Tuesday.

Vyas has been kept out of these final stages of high command’s deliberations on the state affairs, the stated aim of which is to tone up the party machinery and refurbish the Gehlot government’s image ahead of the tough Assembly poll battle ahead.

Party general secretary incharge of the state affairs Ambika Soni, who has been eliciting the views of Rajasthan leaders on ways of putting the party and the government on poll mode, today said some changes will be made in Rajasthan, though this will leave the chief minister untouched.

Party spokesman Jaipal Reddy virtually hinted that Vyas would have to make way for a new leader and that an announcement might be made by the weekend.

The party high command has been toying with the idea of replacing Vyas with another brahmin candidate.

The names of former PCC chief Nawal Kishore Sharma and B. D. Kalla, a Cabinet minister, were making the rounds.

But party sources say the central leadership is also considering a Jat candidate for the job. In which case, the sources say, the other idea of appointing one or two deputy chief ministers might be dropped.

However, the high command is understood to have asked Gehlot to revamp his ministry.

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