Singed by Congress’ dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sachin Pilot had taken a pledge to not wear the traditional Rajasthani turban until it wrested power in the desert state.
The time has now come for him to wear the turban again. On Friday, Pilot was named Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister; Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot is the Chief Minister.
From creating history by becoming the youngest parliamentarian at the age of 26 to leading the state Congress unit, the 41-year-old charismatic leader has earned his electoral stripes after shepherding a reinvigorated Congress to the crucial victory in the Rajasthan assembly elections ahead of next year’s general elections. In the 200-member assembly, Congress emerged as the single largest party with 99 seats while its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal won one seat. Besides, BSP also pledged its support to the grand old party.
Although the win against the BJP was not as emphatic as the Congress would have hoped for, Pilot played an instrumental role in steering the party from the humiliating defeat in 2013 to the highs of victory in Rajasthan. He was entrusted with the responsibility of steading the sinking ship when the Congress faced its worst rout, winning just 21 seats against the BJP’s 163 in 2013.
Known for being approachable among his cadres, Pilot managed to successfully establish ground level connect and also reach out to tech-savvy youth. His victory from Tonk with a margin of more than 54,000 attest to the fact.
Born on September 7, 1977 in UP, Pilot pursued his bachelors in English Literature from prestigious St. Stephen’s College. He is the son of former leader Rajesh Pilot who died in 2000 in a road accident in Dausa.
He went on to work with the Delhi Bureau of the BBC and then the General Motors Corporation. Subsequently, Pilot completed an MBA from the Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania) where he specialised in multinational management and finance.
During his tenure as a parliamentarian, Pilot served as a minister in the UPA government in different capacities. He was the minister of state for communication and IT in 2009 and minister of state (Independent charge) for corporate affairs in 2012.
Besides, he served as a member of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Home Affairs, consultative committee in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and also Budget Estimates Committee of Parliament.
He was elected as MP from his father’s constituency Dausa in 2004 and was elected again from Ajmer in 2009 before he lost the 2014 election from Ajmer.
The chief of Rajasthan Congress’ unit is married to National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s daughter Sara. They have two sons.
Pilot was selected as one of the Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum in 2008. He is also a trained pilot, having received his private pilot’s licence from the US in 1995. He was also commissioned as a lieutenant in the Territorial Army.