JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot put up a united face as they campaigned together for Congress candidates as three seats in the Assembly are up for by-elections.
Both the leaders targeted PM Modi's Farm Bill in a bid to enthuse voters to vote for Congress.
The strained equation between Gehlot and Pilot had put the Congress high command in a difficult position for over the last two years.
Now, there is an attempt to bridge this divide and contest the by-polls with a show of unity.
The duo, along with Rajasthan State Congress Chief, Govind Singh Dotasara, held public meetings in Sujangarh in Churu, Sahada in Bhilwara, and Rajsamand district to support the party candidates.
During his speech in Sujangarh, Ashok Gehlot accused BJP of misleading people and wanting to win elections on the basis of money power.
Taking a dig at the central government, he said that the atmosphere in the country is disturbed as opponents of the government are being put in jail.
Gehlot asserted, "BJP had got an overwhelming majority in Parliament due to the blessings of the farmers, yet the central government is not listening to their demands. Centre will not be able to implement the farm laws."
Dotasara urged people to teach BJP a lesson in the by-election in aftermath of the protests against the contentious agriculture laws.
Sachin Pilot wasn't far behind in attacking the Centre too. He said that the central government had imposed the new laws in an arbitrary manner.
He added that Congress candidates up for election this time, had won in all the three by-elections of the state previously and that it is Congress that has always taken the state towards development.
The by-elections are crucial for Congress and there are several factors working in their favour, such as resentment against the BJP due to the farm laws. Moreover, BSP is not fielding candidates in by-elections.
However, disadvantages such as an anti-incumbency factor, intra-party tension, divisions between the Gehlot and Pilot camp as well as alleged discrimination against SC, ST MLAs can prove detrimental to the party's victory.
The party has declared Manoj Meghwal as its candidate from Sujangarh. Manoj is the son of late Bhanwarlal Meghwal.
In Sahada seat, Congress has made Gayatri Trivedi its candidate, who is the wife of late MLA Kailash Trivedi.
From Rajsamand seat, Tansukh Bohra has been declared the candidate and he will be contesting against BJP's Deepti Maheshwari who is the daughter of late MLA Kiran Maheshwari.
All three seats will go to polls on April 17.