Congress' Young Leaders Will Get Chance When Time Comes, Says Ashok Gehlot

Ashok Gehlot called leaders such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, R P N Singh and Jitin Parsada, who left the Congress to join the BJP, "opportunists" and pointed out that all of them became Union ministers at a young age.

Congress' Young Leaders Will Get Chance When Time Comes, Says Ashok Gehlot

Ashok Gehlot said young leaders who are still in the Congress should work hard. (File)

Jaipur:

Amid an ongoing tussle in the Congress, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said there is no substitute for experience at any level and suggested that young leaders should have patience as they would get their chances when the time comes.

He also said his equation with the Gandhi family will remain the same as it has been for the last 50 years.

Taklking to reporters at the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) office here after casting his vote in the party's presidential poll, Mr Gehlot expressed confidence that Mallikarjun Kharge will win the election and infuse a new life in the organisation.

Without naming Sachin Pilot, with whom he is involved in a tussle over the chief minister's post and the party leadership in the state, Mr Gehlot said young leaders who are still in the Congress should work hard and when the time comes, the central leadership will give them a chance just like he and other leaders got their chances.

"Work gets done by experience. Youngsters can put in hard work, but there is no substitute for experience, whether it is at the village, town, district, state or national level," the veteran leader said.

He called leaders such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, R P N Singh and Jitin Parsada, who left the Congress to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), "opportunists" and pointed out that all of them became Union ministers at a young age.

"Those who left the Congress are opportunistic people. They got a chance to become Union ministers at a young age. They got it without any struggle. Whether it is Scindiaji, Jitin Prasadaji or R P N Singhji," he said.

Asked about those creating an unrest within the Congress, Mr Gehlot, without naming anyone, said, "The message for them is that we worked for the party when it was faced with many challenges, when we lost elections. When good days come, opportunities will come their way. My best wishes are for those who are still in the Congress."

"This is a time of crisis and such people should work hard, which will strengthen their credibility and prestige. Fragrance spreads on its own. When the opportunity comes, the leadership will surely give them a chance just like we got our chances," he added.

Responding to questions on the speculation around his equation with the Gandhi family ahead the Congress presidential poll, Mr Gehlot, once a frontrunner for the post, said his ties with the family will be the "same for life".

"Even after October 19, my relation with the Gandhi family will remain the same as it has been for the last 50 years. I can say this with certainty," he said.

"Vinoba Bhave had once said his relationship with Gita Mata was beyond reason. I have a similar relationship with the Gandhi family and it will remain like that for life," Mr Gehlot said.

Mr Gehlot was a frontrunner for the Congress president's post but there were subsequent political developments in Rajasthan with a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting held at the chief minister's residence here on September 25.

It was seen as an exercise to replace Mr Gehlot as the Rajasthan chief minister with Sachin Pilot, in line with the party's "one man, one post" policy.

The meeting, however, could not take place as the MLAs loyal to Mr Gehlot held a separate meet and submitted their resignation letters to Assembly Speaker C P Joshi, in protest against any move to appoint Mr Pilot to the top post.

Mr Gehlot subsequently apologised to Sonia Gandhi in Delhi for not being able to get a resolution passed at the CLP meeting and said he would not be contesting the party's presidential poll, following which Mr Kharge filed his nomination.

Mr Kharge is pitted against Shashi Tharoor in the Congress presidential poll, the results of which will be declared on October 19.

On the prevailing political situation in Rajsthan and the recent developments over the implementation of the Congress's "one man, one post" policy, Mr Gehlot said Mr Kharge would win the party's presidential poll and answer these questions.

Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot were at loggerheads over the chief minister's post when the Congress came to power in Rajasthan in December 2018. Mr Gehlot was appointed to the top post, while Pilot was made his deputy.

In July 2020, Mr Pilot, along with 18 other MLAs, rebelled against Ashok Gehlot's leadership, which cost him the posts of deputy chief minister and state Congress chief.

Mr Gehlot was successful in saving his government during the month-long crisis.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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