Now that the verdict is clear in the Rajasthan election, the Congress will grapple with the challenge of deciding the chief minister for the state.
The two candidates for the post are old war horse Ashok Gehlot and young leader Sachin Pilot. Rahul Gandhi's calculations for the 2019 Lok Sabha election will play an important part in this decision. While he would like to flaunt a dynamic young team to the electorate, he would also seek experienced hands to navigate the complicated coalition politics.
The Congress will need a competent chief minister at the helm in order to ensure a good performance in Rajasthan during the parliamentary election.
Ashok Gehlot, who represents the Sardarpur constituency in Jodhpur, has vast experience at the central and state level, as also within the party at the national level. This factor works in his favour. He has been the chief minister for two terms and a member of the Lok Sabha for five terms. He is currently the national general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC).
Earlier, he had been a minister at the Centre thrice during the tenures of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao, and also served twice as Pradesh Congress Committee president.
Known for his organisational skills, he was in-charge of the Congress' Gujarat Assembly election campaign in 2017. It is a well-known fact within the party and in Rajasthan that Indira Gandhi was the first to identify the organisational skills of Gehlot, when the latter was carrying out social service work in the camps of East Bengal refugees in 1971. He was later appointed as the first state president of the National Student’s Union of India.
A large section of voters who want to see Gehlot as chief minister. Politically savvy and soft-spoken, Gehlot has been working closely with Rahul in chalking out strategies for the Congress for the past one year.
Sachin Pilot, 41, represents the young brigade of promising and emerging leaders in Congress. His hard work to revive the party in Rajasthan after it was reduced to 21 seats in 2013 will go in his favour. The son of former Congress leader Rajesh Pilot, he is the PCC chief. A two-term MP, Pilot has served as a minister at the Centre during the UPA regime.
Both Gehlot and Pilot jointly led the Assembly poll campaign in Rajasthan to ensure the Congress’ victory.
Given these circumstances, choosing the Rajasthan chief minister will be a difficult task for the top Congress leadership.
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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2018 14:53:11 IST