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'Why Has Modi Made 13 Visits To Rajasthan?'

November 24, 2023 12:46 IST
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'These frequent visits show the BJP fears that the Congress will retain power.'

IMAGE: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra D Modi at a roadshow in Jaipur, November 21, 2023, for the Rajasthan assembly elections. Photograph: ANI Photo

Barely a week before polling day, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi took Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot to a public meeting in Dausa.

He chose Dausa to tell people about the understanding and solidarity between Gehlot and Pilot because Pilot's father, the late Rajesh Pilot, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Dausa.

Ever since Sachin led a rebellion against Gehlot to become chief minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been cashing in on the dispute between the two Congress leaders. At election meetings, Narendra D Modi, the BJP's star election campaigner, insists that all is not well in the state Congress party because Sachin was not given his due.

"There is no truth that I was being victimised by the Congress leadership because of my father's deeds," Sachin Pilot tells Senior Contributor Prakash Bhandari.


Mr Modi says the Congress leadership is punishing you for your father's rebellion against then Congress president Sitaram Kesri.

My father was a Congress loyalist and his unwavering loyalty towards the Gandhi family is well-known. There is no truth that I was being victimised by the Congress leadership because of my father's deeds.

Mr Modi has spoken about the dispute between Mr Gehlot and you that has impacted governance in the state.

His utterings have no substance.

I am fully devoted to the party and am doing my best to see that the party retains power. The party will retain power with a massive mandate.

One is devoted to a party first and then comes the leadership. Devotion and commitment to the party is utmost for me.

IMAGE: Rajasthan's Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot and Govind Singh Dotasra with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi at a meeting at Taranagar in Churu, November 16, 2023 for Saturday's assembly elections. Photograph: ANI Photo

The BJP is playing the religious card in electioneering.
All the BJP leaders including Narendra D Modi and Amit A Shah have been talking of religion.

Yes, it's very unfortunate that the BJP in all the elections in recent years has been raking up the issue of Hindutva. This has resulted in polarisation and also fear.

Raising such issues only leads to divisions in society. While one community finds it comfortable, the other community finds themselves insecure.

The BJP leadership should give it serious thought as ours is a secular country and every individual has a right to religion.

What the BJP is doing is dangerous and will only spread hatred and distrust in society.

You were very critical of the Gehlot government once. Now you talk of the strides made by the Congress government.

I have never been critical of the various welfare schemes of the government. In all my speeches I talk about the welfare schemes which helped the poor.

Yes, I did raise the issue of the question paper leak because it impacted the youth and their labour was wasted.

They had to prepare for the examination once again. It meant a lot to me as their aspirations were not met.

IMAGE: Sachin Pilot at a roadshow ahead of filing his nomination papers from the Tonk assembly constituency. Photograph: ANI Photo

The chief minister says the Congress will retain power though Rajasthan never re-elects an incumbent party.

We will retain power with a resounding victory because the Congress government did a lot for the people on health, employment, education and the social side which is a testimony of good governance.

How do you find 2023 as compared to the 2018 elections?

We came to power in 2018 because the people of the state were fed up with the corrupt BJP government and poor delivery system.

The various welfare schemes of the BJP government were only on paper. The Vasundhara Raje government failed miserably in the health sector and their Bhamashah scheme failed to deliver.

All this collectively caused the fall of the BJP government.

We have learnt from their mistakes and made amends to ensure that we retain power.

IMAGE: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot offers prayers at the Balaji Maharaj Temple in Mehandipur. Photograph: ANI Photo

The BJP has been claiming that the Congress is a divided house in the state and this will lead your party to electoral doom.

This only shows their fear. The prime minister has been campaigning in the state for over a year now/ He has made 13 visits to the state. So has Amit A Shah and (BJP National President) J P Nadda.

These frequent visits show the BJP fears that the Congress will retain power.

Who is going to be chief minister if the Congress comes back to power?

The Congress legislature party and the central leadership will decide. Let the result come.

IMAGE: Sachin Pilot during an election campaign in Tonk. Photograph: ANI Photo

What have you done for your constituency Tonk?

You better ask the people there. I would say in the past five years the face of Tonk has changed with better roads, electricity, schools and better health facilities.

But Tonk has no rail connectivity.

Railways is a Central subject, but I am trying to get the railway connectivity there.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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