Marking a generational shift in state politics, Union Minister Sachin Pilot was Monday appointed the Congress chief in Rajasthan where the party faced a rout in Assembly polls, while Arun Yadav was named Congress chief in Madhya Pradesh, another state where Congress suffered a considerable defeat.
The 36-year-old Minister for Corporate Affairs is a close associate of party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and is the son of late Union Minister Rajesh Pilot and Rama Pilot, who was also MP for a term. He replaces incumbent Chandrabhan, who was defeated in the Assembly polls.
Arun Yadav, 39, represents the Khargone constituency in MP.
Pilot’s appointment as PCC chief comes a month after the party’s poor performance in the desert state. Congress could secure just 21 out of the 200 Assembly seats, marking the ignominious defeat of the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government.
Pilot has been given the party mantle just three months before the Lok Sabha elections. His appointment also comes at a time when the Congress faces an uphill task with Narendra Modi especially focusing on the state neighbouring Gujarat. Rajasthan has 25 Lok Sabha seats.
Welcoming his appointment, AICC general secretary in-charge for Rajasthan Gurudas Kamat said it is an “excellent choice” and Pilot will give a “new direction” to the PCC.
Sources said that apart from Pilot, a number of other leaders were also in the race for the job including AICC general secretary C P Joshi, Union Minister Lalchand Kataria and party MP Mahesh Joshi.
With Pilot’s appointment as PCC chief, an overhaul is expected in the party’s state unit. The new CLP leader for Rajasthan would be chosen in a party meeting on Wednesday with party general secretary Kamath and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad going to Jaipur as observers.
“It is an excellent choice. He is a young and dynamic leader, who has proved his popularity. He comes from a very good family with his father and mother having already served the citizenry of the state. I am sure he will give a clear direction to the PCC in Rajasthan,” Kamath said.
Pilot, whose ancestral village is Vaidpura in Noida belongs to the Bidhuri clan of Gurjar community, is an MBA from Wharton Business School, USA. He is a graduate from St Stephens College, Delhi and has a a diploma in Marketing from IMT, Ghaziabad.
Pilot was the first Union minister to be commissioned as a regular officer in the Territorial Army in 2006, fulfilling his desire to follow in his father’s footsteps. He became an MP at the age of 26. Congress sources said Pilot would take over as PCC chief on January 21, the day the first meeting of the Pradesh Election Committee to decide candidates for Lok Sabha polls would be held.