- Sachin Pilot is credited with rebuilding party after the 2013 defeat
- He lost race to the top to party veteran Ashok Gehlot
- On sharing power, Mr Pilot said the party will have to work twice as hard
Sachin Pilot, senior Congress leader and till recently, one of the contenders for the top job in Rajasthan, today said sharing power with party veteran Ashok Gehlot just means they had to work "twice as hard".
Asked whether the arrangement will involve an equal distribution of power and responsibility, Mr Pilot told NDTV, "Please don't read too much into this... This just means we have to work twice as hard.... it is a do-engine ki gaadi (vehicle fitted with two engines)... We will work with twice as much energy."
Mr Pilot lost the race to the top to Mr Gehlot in a tussle that rolled for more than 70 hours and involved much back and forth consultations with party chief Rahul Gandhi. At the end of it, the 41-year-old leader, credited with rebuilding the party from scratch after its resounding defeat to the BJP in 2013, was made Mr Gehlot's deputy.
Party chief Rahul Gandhi had hinted at the truce, tweeting a photograph of him flanked by the two leaders, captioned "The united colours of Rajasthan".
Yesterday, Mr Gehlot and Mr Pilot took the oath of office as part of back-to-back ceremonies in the three heartland states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - where the Congress trumped the BJP in this round of assembly elections.
About the party's performance, which fell just short of majority and made support from Mayawati necessary, Mr Pilot said it could be interpreted in many ways.
"The BJP lost over a 100 seats. The Congress was not dependent on outside support. The BJP tried to polarise the workers... Despite that, the people gave us a clear mandate," he said, adding that the result "gives us a glimpse into 2019".
Critics have pointed out that the Congress performance could not be interpreted as an unqualified victory, especially in Rajasthan, a state that routinely votes out the incumbent government. The BJP has commended Vasundhara Raje for the spirited fight.