Ahead Of Polls, Ashok Gehlot Shares "Youth Leader" Sachin Pilot's Appeal

The Congress is bidding to retain control of Rajasthan but faces a strong challenge from the BJP and must also fight the state's tradition of voting out the ruling party every five years.

Ahead Of Polls, Ashok Gehlot Shares 'Youth Leader' Sachin Pilot's Appeal

Ashok Gehlot (R) is a three-time Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Sachin Pilot was his deputy (File).

New Delhi:

In signs the Congress is, at least for now, working together to ensure it retains power in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday shared a nearly two-minute video appeal to the electorate by his rival and former deputy Sachin Pilot to vote for the ruling party in Saturday's election.

Mr Gehlot called his now ex-deputy - who in 2020 launched an unsuccessful bid to oust the senior leader - a "Congress youth leader" in his post on X (formerly Twitter) in which he shared the video.

In the video, Sachin Pilot begins by talking about the re-election campaign and says, "In the past few weeks, all of us have travelled across the state to reach out to you, the voters. Based on the feedback, I am confident that the next government will be formed by the Congress."

"In the past 30 years there has been a tradition... five years BJP, five years Congress. But this can be broken if everyone gives Congress their blessing," he says, "So it is my appeal... for the development of the state, and to fulfill the Congress' vow to ensure progress for all, it is important we press the 'hand' (the Congress' election symbol) on voting machines and give all Congress candidates a win."

"I want to appeal again to places I could not visit... please bless your Congress candidates. This will be a win for the people and will ensure the BJP cannot stop welfare schemes we want to launch."

That Mr Gehlot shared an appeal for votes 24 hours before polling is perhaps not surprising. 

But it does underline the Congress' concerted bid to present a united front amid the simmering feud between the Chief Minister and Sachin Pilot, which threatened to bring down the party's governemnt when it exploded three years ago and which also threatened to derail its re-election bid.

Ahead of this election Mr Pilot issued a "forgive and forget" statement, making it clear he has buried the hatchet with Mr Gehlot and that he had done so on the advice of party boss Mallikarjun Kharge. 

READ | Sachin Pilot's "Forgive And Forget" Status Update On Ashok Gehlot

Mr Gehlot's sharing of Mr Pilot's appeal also comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attempt to win over Congress voters - specifically from the Gurjar community - who may be disgruntled by the party supporting Ashok Gehlot over Sachin Pilot in the face-off between the two.

On Thursday the PM, while campaigning in Bhilwara district, accused the Congress of "victimising" its senior leader, Sachin Pilot, who is also Rajesh Pilot's son. Mr Pilot reacted swiftly, telling the Prime Minister there was no need for anyone other than his party and the people to worry about him.

READ | "Rajesh Pilot No More, Congress Punishing His Son": PM In Rajasthan

Significantly, Mr Gehlot also hit out at the Prime Minister. "The PM wants to provoke the Gurjar community. But, during BJP rule, bullets were fired on Gurjars 22 times... 72 Gurjars died," he said, referring to the February 2008 clashes, when the BJP's Vasundhara Raje was Chief Minister.

READ | "To Provoke Gurjars": Ashok Gehlot Hits Back After PM's Rajesh Pilot Jab

Rajasthan votes in a single-phase election on Saturday with results due December 3.

The Congress is bidding to retain control of the state but faces a strong challenge from the BJP and must also fight the state's tradition of voting out the ruling party every five years.

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