Senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot, who once described himself as “overcautious”, advises waiting for the counting of votes before the question of who will head the government in Rajasthan is answered. On a day the exit polls predicted a resurgence of the Congress — placing it neck and neck with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and as an outright winner in Rajasthan – Mr Pilot said he was looking forward to a “nice bath and going to sleep”.
The 41-year-old – known to be close to party chief Rahul Gandhi — is seen as one of the front-runners for the top job in Rajasthan. Many in the state expect him to head the government if the party comes to power. The other leader on the list is party veteran and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who headed the government twice.
Asked about the matter, Mr Pilot said his brief five years ago was to come and rebuild the party in Rajasthan. “We have done this with the support of all the leaders in the state,” said the leader who is said to have been handpicked for the job by Rahul Gandhi.
Underscoring the support he has received from the local leaders, Mr Pilot said, “I really think I’m a very fortunate party president to have got all this support from all the leaders in Rajasthan”.
The party policy for 70 years, he said, was a decision after it gets majority. “Let’s wait for the 11th, the party has very clearly mandated that once we get majority we will sit and figure out who will head the government,” he added.
Rajasthan voted today to elect its next government — the turnout was 72.6 per cent – down from last time’s 75.5 per cent. Since 1993, the state has never re-elected the incumbent government – a situation that has added to the hopes of the Congress.
There is also much speculation about the top job in Madhya Pradesh if the party wins. Three senior leaders — party veterans Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, as well as another young leader and close Rahul Gandhi aide Jyotiraditya Scindia – are on the list there.
Mr Pilot said the exit poll results have validated the people’s acceptance of the “alternative form of government” the Congress is providing. As for Rajasthan, the exit polls, while predicting a Congress victory, may have not been accurate about the extent of it.
“I’m confident that when the results come out, the numbers will be larger than what some of these polls are indicating,” Mr Pilot said.
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