Ashok Gehlot to be Rajasthan Chief Minister, Sachin Pilot his deputy: Congress

Pilot exuded confidence that Congress' good electoral performance will continue, saying the party will get a big mandate in 2019 polls and form the government.

Published: 14th December 2018 04:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th December 2018 06:35 AM   |  A+A-

New Delhi Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot and senior party leader Ashok Gehlot at a press conference at AICC headquarters in New Delhi Friday Dec. 14 2018. (P)

By PTI

NEW DELHI/JAIPUR :  Hours after he was named Rajasthan’s chief minister, Ashok Gehlot told the newly-elected Congress lawmakers that he would actually be wearing “a crown of thorns”. That was as honest as he could get, as state  party unit president Sachin Pilot, who is no pushover, would be his deputy. Gehlot’s main issue would be keeping Sachin Pilot in good humour, since he got the top job after a bitter power struggle and intense lobbying with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

In his third term as chief minister, and with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections just a few months away, Gehlot would also be expected to deliver most of the 25 parliamentary seats in the state. But this may not be easy, given that the BJP is close behind with 73 MLAs.

READ | Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot supporters break into celebrations in Rajasthan

The Congress didn’t win even a single parliamentary seat in 2014, and a year earlier, was routed under Gehlot as chief minister. Pilot, who is credited with revamping the party from scratch since then, has settled to play second fiddle, but would not like to let his influence wane. For now, he is sending the right signals. “We will show how the government is run collectively,” Pilot told party lawmakers.

The trend in the state has been that the party that comes to power in the Assembly does well in the Lok Sabha polls as well. In case that does not happen, Gehlot’s position could be under AICC scrutiny.
The Congress and the BJP did not have a big vote share difference, forcing the grand old party to seek support from independents and others.

READ | Farm loans waiver soon in MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgrah: Rahul Gandhi

Sachin as deputy CM means a parallel power centre has been set up in the state and Pilot is being seen by many as a successor to Gehlot. Choosing his Cabinet keeping in mind the caste and regional equations in the state, dealing with the allies and an aggressive BJP in the Assembly and outside, would certainly put Gehlot on the edge. Sources said Pilot had agreed to be deputy CM on condition that his group of MLAs would get equal weightage in comparison to Gehlot’s loyalists, meaning that important portfolios may go to Pilot favourites like Pratap Singh Khachariyawas and Raghu Sharma.

Governance in consonance with the party’s manifesto would be another big challenge for the new chief minister as the Congress came to power flogging former chief minister Vasundhara Raje for ignoring the voters after coming to power. Gehlot will have to ensure that promises made by Rahul Gandhi to farmers and the youth are fulfilled , otherwise the strong opposition will make his tenure difficult. “Along with Sachin ji and the MLAs, we promise to give good governance,” said Gehlot.

Conditions apply: Pilot

Sources said Pilot agreed to be Dy CM only if his group of MLAs got equal weightage in comparison to Gehlot’s loyalists

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp