Last Updated: December 06, 2023, 08:15 IST
Sachin Pilot is seen as one of the frontrunners for the post of the Leader of Opposition. (PTI)
Sachin Pilot won from Tonk, but the long-drawn strife between CM Ashok Gehlot and him is said to be one of the reasons behind the loss in Rajasthan. Pilot did not comment on it, but said it was “unfortunate” that the Congress could not repeat its government
The introspection and course-correction that the Congress party plans to do in Rajasthan will be done soon, as the Lok Sabha election in 2024 is near and we need to gear up for it, Congress leader Sachin Pilot told News18, in his first exclusive interaction after the Congress lost the state.
Pilot won from Tonk, but the long-drawn strife between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and him is said to be one of the reasons behind the loss in Rajasthan. Pilot did not comment on it, but said it was “unfortunate” that the Congress could not repeat its government. “We had worked hard. It is unfortunate that we could not repeat our government and break the trend of the last 30 years in the state. Whatever introspection and course-correction the party will do after the loss, should happen soon as the Lok Sabha elections are just around the corner,” Sachin Pilot has told News18.
He added that the Congress had passed a one-line resolution authorising the party to decide who the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) should be. “The party will take the correct decision on how to move forward,” Pilot told News18.
Pilot is seen as one of the front-runners for the post of the LoP. The Congress did not collapse in Eastern Rajasthan, Pilot’s stronghold area, unlike in the Western parts of the state, and won 23 seats here compared to 34 seats in the last elections. The party, however, lost eight of the 10 seats in Jodhpur, the home district of former CM Gehlot.
The Congress also did not win a single seat in Western Rajasthan districts such as Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Pali and Rajasmand. The decision of the Congress leadership to repeat 98 MLAs cost it dear as 63 of them lost. The Congress had chosen to repeat 88% of its sitting MLAs, despite objections from Pilot who had argued to inject fresh blood to tide over the anti-incumbency against the sitting MLAs of the Congress.
Worse, the party repeated 26 Ministers as candidates and 17 of them lost the polls. The Congress could win 69 seats out of 199 to crash to its third-worst defeat in Rajasthan.
The two worst defeats of the party remain in 2013, when it won only 21 seats to lose power to the BJP, and before that in 2003, when it could win only 56 seats. All three defeats came when Gehlot was the Chief Minister. Incidentally, the party had managed to win 74 seats in the loss in the state after the Babri Masjid demolition incident in the 1990s. This time, the Congress could not touch that mark too.