Pilot, Gehlot to contest Rajasthan polls
New Delhi: Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot and former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot -- both claimants to the Chief Ministerial post -- on Wednesday announced here that they will contest the December 7 state Assembly elections but avoided answering questions on who will be the CM face.
Confirming their candidature at a joint press conference, Pilot exuded confidence about dethroning the Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state.
"I and Gehlot will both contest the Assembly polls and Congress will come to power in the state," said Pilot but parried queries regarding who will be the chief minister in case the Congress came to power.
Pilot, a Minister in former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, also rubbished reports of any friction with Gehlot.
"The infighting is within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and many leaders disgruntled over ticket distribution as well as the functioning of the Raje government are queuing up to join the Congress," said Pilot who represented Ajmer constituency in the 15th Lok Sabha.
There has been speculation about who among the two would contest the assembly polls. With both of them perceived as Chief Minister hopefuls, the party reportedly wanted to field only one of them to avoid a potential tussle.
Gehlot, who has been twice the Chief Minister and now the party's national general secretary, also remained tightlipped on the issue of the CM face.
"Since Independence, it has been the tradition of Congress party not to name the CM face in states. We are proudly carrying forward that legacy," said Gehlot.
Gehlot is likely to contest from Sardarpura constituency in Jodhpur which he represents in the current Assembly.
Pilot may be fielded from any of the seats in Ajmer, his old parliamentary constituency or Dausa which thrice elected his father and late former Union Minister Rajesh Pilot, and once his mother Rama Pilot in 1999.
The 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, where the BJP is in power, goes to the polls on December 7. The results will be announced on December 11.