- Sachin Pilot is spearheading the Congress campaign in Rajasthan
- It is the only state where opinion polls predicted a Congress government
- Ruling party has never won a second mandate in the state in over 30 years
The Congress is just a platform and the people of Rajasthan are fighting the battle for the party, said Sachin Pilot, who is spearheading the Congress campaign in the state. Rajasthan is the only state in the coming round of assembly elections where opinion polls have predicted a Congress victory. But 41-year-old Mr Pilot, known to be close to party chief Rahul Gandhi, described himself as "overcautious".
Fielding questions at NDTV's townhall, Mr Pilot said Vasundhara Raje had come in with a huge mandate, but she has "squandered" it.
"Vasundhara-ji made 611 promises. How many of them have been implemented," he said. "There was a great promise five years ago, of giving 15 lakh jobs in the state," but that promise too remains unfulfilled. The state, he said, has a woman Chief Minister but eight to ten rapes are reported every day.
For over three decades, Rajasthan has not given a second mandate to a ruling party. This time, an aggregate of opinion polls indicated that the Congress might comfortably win more than 120 of the state's 200 seats, where the majority mark lies at 101.
Mr Pilot refused to be drawn out on the question of who would be the Chief Minister of the state if the party wins.
The Congress - which is banking on anti-incumbency to tip the scales in their favour -- is yet to indicate who will get the top job - Mr Pilot or veteran former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. The 67-year-old Mr Gehlot headed the Congress government that was swept out of power five years ago.
Both leaders will be contesting the elections, which will be held in one phase on December 7. While they announced their candidature this morning, the party is yet to name their constituencies.
The issue has been capitalized by Ms Raje, who has been saying that neither she, nor the people know whom she is fighting. It is usually the BJP which does not project anyone as Chief Minister ahead of the elections in a state. Ms Raje is one of the rare exceptions.
"I don't know who she's fighting but it's the people of Rajasthan that are fighting her," Mr Pilot responded. "For 5 years, there was a real arrogance to the government... farmer suicides, agrarian crisis, joblessness, corruption. So... the people of Rajasthan are fighting the battle for us. The Congress party is only a platform," Mr Pilot said.
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