Why Congress chose Gehlot and made Sachin his co-pilot
Jaipur, Dec 15: After much deliberation a decision was made in Rajasthan. It is now Ashok Gehlot as Chief Minister and Sachin Pilot as deputy chief minister.
There were many factors that went into the appointment of Gehlot. He is an old war horse, knows the state of Rajasthan like the back of his palm. Now this is crucial for the Congress ahead of the big 2019 Lok Sabha battle and Rajasthan would be a key state in that election.
The Congress may have won Rajasthan in the assembly segment, but the party would also be mindful of the big challenge in 2019. The party feels that it needed a stalwart like Gehlot to take on Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 2019.
Gehlot did not start out to be a politician. In 2015, while performing a magic trick at a convention, he said that he would have followed in his father's footsteps had he not joined politics.
Some accounts suggest that he was picked by Indira Gandhi, who had noticed his work with the refugees in North East. He started out with the NSUI and gradually became a staunch Gandhi loyalist.
He has very often also been referred to as Rajasthan's Gandhi, due to his simple lifestyle.
Being the AICC general secretary, the party had initially wanted to focus on the national scene.
However Rajasthan is a crucial state in 2019 and hence the party felt that it is best that Gehlot remains at the helm. He has also been the head of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee four times.
While it was largely believed that Gehlot would be sidelined by Rahul Gandhi, who is pushing the youth ahead, a bit of that changed post the Gujarat elections. Gehlot was the AICC general secretary in charge of Gujarat just before the assembly polls held last year.
The Congress did put up an impressive performance in the elections and even managed to give the BJP a scare.
He also played a big role in stitching up the alliance with the JD(S) in Karnataka. He was present along with Ghulam Nabi Azad and put in place the Congress-JD(S) coalition.
Although he has proven his mettle on the national scene, Gehlot's heart has always been in Rajasthan.
Gehlot was first elected to Parliament in 1980 and went on to win the LS polls four more times. He has represented the Saradpura assembly seat and has won it five consecutive times. He has served as central minister of state in the tourism, civil, aviation, sports and textiles ministries between 1982 and 1993.