After three days of tense deliberations, the Congress Friday named Ashok Gehlot Rajasthan’s next chief minister and state party chief Sachin Pilot his deputy after Congress president Rahul Gandhi struck a balance between experience and youth.
Gandhi met Gehlot and Pilot, who had earlier dug in his heels, to work out a compromise formula. Pilot, who had already conveyed to Gandhi that he had worked hard in the last five years to resurrect the party, settled for the Deputy CM post.
After reaching an agreement, Gehlot and Pilot appeared before the media together in Delhi before flying to Jaipur where they met Governor Kalyan Singh and formally staked claim to form the government. The Congress won 99 seats in the state assembly earlier this week, bouncing back from the drubbing in the 2013 polls when the party won just 21 seats.
Raj Bhawan officials said that the Congress leaders have sought time for a swearing-in ceremony at 10 am on Monday. Gehlot said, “On Monday there will be a swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Minister and
the Deputy Chief Minister after which the cabinet will be constituted.”
Raj Bhawan spokesperson Lokesh Chandra Sharma said that a delegation of Congress leaders led by Congress leader Avinash Pande met Governor Kalyan Singh. “The delegation also presented a list of 100 MLAs to the Governor. The Governor then gave a letter to Ashok Gehlot inviting him to take the oath as Chief Minister and form the government,” he said.
Party leaders hailed the decision and argued that a right balance between experience and dynamism has been struck with a view on 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“I think an experienced and dynamic leadership will come together in Rajasthan…this leadership will give total strength to the party and fulfil the aspirations of the people of Rajasthan,” AICC observer K C Venugopal told reporters.
Gehlot thanked Gandhi and said that he and Pilot will deliver good governance as envisaged by Gandhi. He said Gandhi during his campaign had talked about good governance, loan waivers for farmers and ensuring jobs for the youth.
According to Pilot, the mandate of the people of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh was for altering the political dynamic in the country. “Mera aur Ashok Gehlot ji ka jaadu puri tarah chal gaya hai (Gehlot and I worked our magic in the state)…our first priority will be to prepare for the Lok Sabha elections to see to it that the Congress emerges as a strong force,” Pilot said. He also said that the party’s manifesto will be implemented immediately.