Amid power tussle with Sachin Pilot, CM Ashok Gehlot’s message to young leaders

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
Jul 20, 2020 06:14 PM IST

Claiming that people and rivals who talk of a ‘Congress-free Bharat’ should stop daydreaming, Gehlot said every Congress member who has faith in the party’s leadership and its fundamental ideology -- and who can work diligently for the party rather than selfish interests –will have a bright future in the Congress.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday said that young political leaders should have a little patience and the Congress party would no doubt give them many opportunities to take their political careers forward, in an oblique reference to rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot. The chief minister and Pilot are involved in a bitter power tussle for more than a week now.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot outside Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur where Congress lawmakers are staying.(HT PHOTO.)
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot outside Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur where Congress lawmakers are staying.(HT PHOTO.)

“I want to tell our young leaders that we, too, got chances when we were young but we never thought of disrespecting our seniors and the party leadership. We never promoted groupism or factionalism. I was already a three-time president of the state unit when I became the Chief Minister for the first time. Young leaders should have a little patience. The party will give them many opportunities to take their political careers forward,” Gehlot said when asked why young leaders in his party were feeling restive and were keen to switch to rival political parties.

Claiming that people and rivals who talk of a ‘Congress-free Bharat’ should stop daydreaming, Gehlot in an interview to Hindustan Times said every Congress member who has faith in the party’s leadership and its fundamental ideology and policies -- and who can work diligently giving priority to the party rather than selfish interests – is likely to have a bright future in the Congress party.

ALSO READ | Some young leaders think they are superior to high command, says Ashok Gehlot

Amid the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, several young Congress leaders have expressed their support for Sachin Pilot. So what is it that makes the younger generation abandon the Congress and move to other political rivals? “Those who rise from frontal organisations such as the NSUI (National Students’ Union of India), Youth Congress, Seva Dal, Mahila Congress and have worked at the grassroot level cannot feel restive. They know if they’re working hard, with honesty and diligence, the party will look after them; that ample opportunities will come their way,” the Rajasthan chief minister stressed.

Gehlot elaborated that he was himself an example of rising through the party ranks. He worked in NSUI, was elected as an MP at the age of 28 and then became a minister when he was 29. “I was PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) president three times, a central minister three times, and also a party general secretary three times. Now I’m chief minister for the third time with the support and blessings of the people,” he said.

ALSO READ | ‘Who knew person with such innocent face will…’: CM Gehlot roasts Sachin Pilot

On how the Congress high command in Delhi was dealing with the political turmoil in the desert state which has been continuing for more than a week now, Gehlot said, “I’m in touch with the leadership. Any decision taken by the high command in this or any other issue will be followed. But I’d like to add that they (Pilot camp) are so much hand in glove with the BJP that I doubt that they’d come back. In the forthcoming days, you will get to see that. They’re sitting in a BJP-ruled state and enjoying their hospitality. The BJP government [in Haryana] is providing them police protection; its leaders are giving statements in their favour. What more evidence does one need to see that they’re in alliance with the BJP?”

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