Newly-appointed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Right) and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot (Left)
Newly-appointed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Right) and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot (Left)

Congress' balancing act in Rajasthan: Gehlot CM, Pilot Deputy

ANI | Updated: Dec 14, 2018 18:06 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 13 (ANI): Striking a balance, the Congress on Friday named old guard Ashok Gehlot as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and young blood Sachin Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister.
The announcement came after three days of suspense and hectic confabulations within the Congress, which wrested power from the BJP in the state on December 11.
The party has been in a dilemma as to whether hand over the charge in Rajasthan to an old guard like Gehlot or to bring in a young face in Pilot. Finally, the party went for a combination of experience and youth by making Gehlot the chief minister and Pilot his deputy.
Gehlot, a 67-year-old seasoned politician, returns as the Chief Minister for the third time. He was the Chief Minister when the Congress lost power in 2013.
It is a reward for his organisational skills and swift balancing act through which he got all factions on board. His acumen in setting the chess board within the organisation in a win-win style was witnessed not only in Rajasthan Assembly elections but also gave a tough fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat in 2017.
Sachin Pilot, 41, will also continue to be the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) president, the party announced on Friday.
Pilot, a sauve politician who was a Union Minister in the previous UPA government, had shifted his base to Rajasthan after the party's defeat in the 2013 assembly polls with the task of rebuilding the party in the state.
The victory for the party in the just-held assembly elections was a result of his hard work of five years.
Before the announcement, Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted a picture of him with Gehlot and Pilot with the caption, "The united colours of Rajasthan!"
Addressing a press conference here, Gehlot said he would work to address the issues that were raised by the party during the election campaign.
"Farmer loans will be waived, employment will be provided for the youth, and other issues of the public will be heard. We will promote good governance," said Gehlot, flanked by Pilot and party observer K. C. Venugopal.
Pilot congratulated Gehlot for being appointed as the chief minister and said the Congress will now focus on consolidating the party and all other "anti-BJP" elements to oust the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre.
"Now our first priority, politically, will be to prepare for the Lok Sabha elections, to consolidate all the anti-BJP forces and form a Congress-UPA government in the Centre. In terms of governance, we will fulfill all the aspirations of the people, I am confident of being able to accomplish both," the deputy chief minister added.
"The election victories in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh will change the political landscape of this country. The public has voted because of their frustrations regarding peace, development, employment for the youth, economic constraints for farmers. People now have hope that the Congress party will prevail in 2019, because Rahul Gandhi has ousted three entrenched BJP governments. We are very lucky to be able to serve the people of the state," Pilot said.
Pilot was elected as the Member of Parliament from his late father Rajesh Pilot's constituency Dausa in 2004 and became the youngest MP. He was elected again from Ajmer in 2009. In the recent assembly elections, he won from the Tonk assembly constituency with a huge margin of over 50,000 votes.
In the assembly elections, whose results were declared on December 11, the party got 99 seats out of 199 seats for which elections were held on December 7. The state assembly has 200 seats, but election on one seat was put off due to demise of one of the candidates.
The newly-elected Congress legislators in the state met on Thursday, and the decision of choosing the CLP leader was left to party president Rahul Gandhi. It took several meetings over the last two days to announce the new leadership of Rajasthan. (ANI)