Debunking pre-poll surveys that indicate a wave in favour of the BJP, new Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot asserts that the BJP’s “Mission 25” will come a cropper. He also dismisses speculations about a “generational war” within the state party. Excerpts from the interview:
Reports indicate that some sitting Congress MPs wanted to shift their constituencies, while some were reluctant to contest.
A huge misinformation campaign is on against the Rajasthan Congress leaders. There is no truth in such reports.
Pre-poll surveys indicate a “saffron surge” in Rajasthan. How hopeful are you of stopping the BJP juggernaut?
The BJP’s projections are exaggerated. The results in Rajasthan will be a shock for the party. I am very confident that the Congress will put up a good fight. I am determined to prove the poll pundits wrong.
Factionalism within the state Congress is said to have hugely contributed to the party’s worst-ever drubbing in the recent assembly elections.
Reports also indicate that senior state leaders have not taken kindly to your elevation.
None of the senior leaders have given me this impression. I aim to use the wisdom and experience of the older leaders and take fresh people on board. The old lethargy of the party has to be shaken off and the organisation has to be more agile, flexible, responsive and in tune with the growing aspirations of the people.
The party cannot be run top-down. I have tried to engage party workers at the grassroots level by interacting with the panches, sarpanches and pradhans elected on Congress tickets. Party leaders have to be out on the streets – fighting shoulder to shoulder on issues that concern the common people. I am working on restructuring the state party unit.
Why was the Congress performance worse than anticipated in the assembly elections?
We were unable to communicate effectively. There were some implementation lacunas as well. But essentially, the messaging was wrong. We have to learn from our failures and work jointly towards regaining the party strength.