It's new turf, but Sachin Pilot confident of romping home
It is a BJP bastion and a constituency that the party has won six times in the last seven elections. But Ajmer is where Congress leader Sachin Pilot's political fortunes will be tested after delimitation forced him to leave Dausa in Rajasthan, his father's constituency.india Updated: Mar 30, 2009 14:02 IST
It is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bastion and a constituency that the party has won six times in the last seven elections. But Ajmer is where Congress leader Sachin Pilot's political fortunes will be tested after delimitation forced him to leave Dausa in Rajasthan, his father's constituency.
So how tough is it going to be for the young Gujjar leader?
"I am confident I am going to win. I know there are lots of expectations but the party leadership has reposed faith in me and I will deliver," said Pilot, who is already in the thick of electioneering, notching nearly 100 km every day visiting villages and addressing public meetings.
"I campaigned for the party in Ajmer during last year's assembly polls; so I am no stranger to the place. What is important for me is to break the jinx," Pilot, 31, who has an MBA degree from Wharton Business School told IANS in an interview.
Having addressed a public meeting mainly comprising Gujjars - a farming and trading tribe - in Dudu, about 50 km from Jaipur, Pilot thanks the gathering for accepting him and promises to live up to his pledges.
Unlike Dausa, which has a large concentration of Gujjars, Ajmer has a mixed population with Jats, Sindhis and upper castes, as also other backward classes (OBCs), forming the vote bank.
The city itself is beautiful, surrounded by the spectacular Aravalli mountains and is home to the tomb of the most revered Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.
Pilot believes that he has the first mover advantage in the run up to the polls as the BJP is still undecided about its candidate.
"They can't find one," he quips.
A five-time BJP MP, Rasa Singh Rawat has now been fielded from the neighbouring Rajsamandh constituency after the delimitation exercise.
Pilot says he will be camping in Ajmer throughout the period leading to the polls and reckons his campaign will pick up once he files his nomination in early April.
"The issues affecting people here vary. In the rural pockets, agriculture and irrigation still agitate villagers while in urban areas, the failure to execute projects or the lack of them are real concerns," says Pilot.
When he was elected from Dausa in 2004, Pilot won by a record margin of over 120,000 votes, making him the youngest MP in the country.
"Let's keep our fingers crossed and try improving that tally," he confidently exuded.