- Vasundhara Raje had her way on choice of BJP chief in Rajasthan
- Amit Shah tried to install Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: Sachin Pilot
- "She actually said I don't want the man that he wants": Mr Pilot
Days before Rajasthan votes and in the middle of a bitter campaign, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of the BJP has scooped a compliment of sorts from her rival, Sachin Pilot of the Congress. She did what no other person could do, not just in the BJP but "the whole nation", Mr Pilot marveled on NDTV's Townhall, tongue firmly in cheek.
"What she did is to show Amit Shah his place. Nobody in the BJP has been able to do that. She actually stood her ground and for 75 days, that cold war went on," said the former union minister and the Congress's Rajasthan chief.
In July, the result of that "cold war" was that Vasundhara Raje had her way on the choice of a BJP chief in Rajasthan to replace Ashok Parnami, who was asked to quit after the party's poor performance in by-polls. Amit Shah, the BJP president, tried to install his candidate Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a first-time MP, but failed.
"She actually said I don't want the man that he wants. If you ask BJP people, no other person in the whole nation has done that," said Mr Pilot.
The 41-year-old Congress leader had been asked by NDTV to say "two good things" about his rival, in the spirit of his party chief Rahul Gandhi's pronouncement that he would practise the politics of love.
On the second good point about the Chief Minister, Mr Pilot said she had contributed, in her own party and as a member of the legislature, by being in public life.
"She's a woman who we all respect as an individual," said the Congress leader, exhausting his reserve of praise for Vasundhara Raje. "But her term in office, her governance, arrogance, her sense of cutting off people..."
Called out on his quick transition from the positive to the negative, he remarked: "I have to be honest when I'm speaking to you."
Rajasthan votes on December 7 for a new assembly and the results will be declared four days later. For over three decades, the state has not given a second mandate to a ruling party. This time, an aggregate of opinion polls indicates that the Congress might comfortably win more than 120 of the state's 200 seats, comfortably past the majority mark of 101.
Mr Pilot said Vasundhara Raje had come in with a huge mandate in 2013, but she has "squandered" it.
"Vasundhara-ji made 611 promises. How many of them have been implemented," he said.
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