Kochi, Sept 23 Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday made it clear he will fight for the party president's post and said irrespective of the outcome, it is necessary to work in a united manner and ensure the party emerges as a strong opposition.
Any call on his successor to head the Rajasthan government will be taken by party interim President Sonia Gandhi and Congress' Rajasthan in-charge, Ajay Maken, he told presspersons here.
"I will fix the date (to submit the nomination papers) after going (back to Rajasthan), but I have decided that I will have to contest. It is a question of democracy and let us make a new start," he said.
With speculation rife that Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor is likely to jump into the fray, Gehlot said other "Congress friends" may also contest, but what matters is unity and the need to strengthen the organisation at all levels.
"There are Congress friends. Even if they contest, there is no issue. After the results, we should work together to strengthen the Congress at the block, village, district levels and also move forward making our (Congress) thought process as the base so that we emerge as a strong opposition," he added.
Considering the present situation in the country, there is a need for a strong opposition, the veteran Congress leader said.
Responding to a question on Rahul Gandhi's 'one-man, one-post' statement made in the context of the Congress leadership role and asked for his comment on a possible successor if he wins the party election, Gehlot said Rajasthan state in-charge Ajay Maken and Sonia Gandhi would decide on the matter.
He was also asked if he would have a say in the matter.
"I can't say that standing in Kochi. Our general secretary in charge Ajay Maken and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will decide" on the related developments in Rajasthan and when it is to be done, he added.
The Congress had on Thursday issued a notification for the party president’s post.
The party is likely to be headed by a non-Gandhi leader for the first time in decades, with Rahul Gandhi indicating he is not going to vie for the top post.