Outgoing Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, 62, says the Congress rout in the state has come as a surprise while admitting that the Modi factor played a role in the assembly polls. Excerpts from his conversation with Sachin Saini:
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot addressing a press conference after Assembly results in Jaipur. (PTI Photo)
What is your take on the poll results in Rajasthan?
When a wave starts against a government, who can stop it? The BJP has been successful in diverting the people’s minds from the real issues. The causes for the Congress’ failure need to be studied.
Analysing polls show that the Modi factor did work...
Call it a Modi factor, an inflation factor or false allegations levelled against the UPA and the Congress, the atmosphere in the country is such that the communal forces are making headway.
Was poor ticket distribution responsible for the Congress’ poor performance.
Mistakes do happen in ticket distribution, by every party, even by us.
How do you see the fate of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections?
We will gear up for the parliamentary polls and expose the BJP. Our efforts will be to stop such forces that build a media hype with the help of corporate houses.
Do you think there was no impact of campaigning by Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh?
Campaigns by all the leaders have had an impact. I believe that their message has been heard across the country.
The BJP claims the results are because of Modi’s popularity.
Even Vasundhara Raje in Jhalawar was urging people to vote by invoking Modi’s name. What can be more unfortunate?
Who will take the responsibility for the Congress defeat – you or the party?
The entire responsibility is mine.
Did you expect such a result?
This was an unexpected result. Considering the governance, the Congress should have won.
What will be your role now?
We will be vigilant and ensure that all the schemes are implemented properly. We will not tolerate any irregularity as the Opposition.