Mr Gehlot, 71, is the Gandhis’ choice for the leadership of the Congress, and has been for long, but he is reportedly reluctant to give up his Rajasthan role.  If he does, Sachin Pilot, his bitter rival and former deputy, is mostly likely to step in. He (Gehlot) said clearly he is not leaving Rajasthan, said Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas, adding that the Chief Minister and other leaders will decide on his candidature.

Sources say Mr Gehlot has told the Congress leadership that he wants to stay on as Chief Minister for some time, even after becoming Congress president. If he has to move to national politics, say sources, he wants a loyalist to rule as his proxy in Rajasthan. If not, then he wants to keep both roles by taking over as working president of the Congress with Sonia Gandhi as full-time chief.

The Congress will accept nominations till September 30. The elections for Congress president, if needed (if there are more than one candidate), will be held on October 17. The results will be declared on October 19.