Rajasthan Cong chief Sachin Pilot faces uphill task, may start with overhaul
Apart from boosting the morale of party cadre following the drubbing in the assembly polls, where the party secured only 21 of the 200 seats, Pilot will also face the challenge of torrid factionalism.Updated: Jan 13, 2014 20:10 IST
New state Congress president Sachin Pilot has an uphill task, of consolidating the party's position while taking on the BJP juggernaut.
With chief minister Vasundhara Raje already working on Mission-25 (the state has 25 Lok Sabha seats), Pilot will have to play his cards quick and right in the run-up to the 2014 general elections due by May.
Apart from boosting the morale of party cadre following the drubbing in the assembly polls, where the party secured only 21 of the 200 seats, Pilot will also face the challenge of torrid factionalism.
Many in the state Congress unit are expecting an overhaul with Pilot's appointment.
Ahead of the first assembly session beginning next week, the Congress legislative party is scheduled to meet Wednesday.
The newly elected MLAs are likely to elect the CLP leader at the meeting, where the party's state in-charge Gurudas Kamat and Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad are expected to be present as observers.
Pilot will take charge of office on January 21. The party's state election committee meet has been convened the same day for discussions on the Lok Sabha polls.
As expected the news of Pilot's appointment was greeted with cheers and criticism.
"Rahul Gandhi's experiment of infusing young blood has failed in past. An appointment needs acceptability among the workers and leaders," said a senior Congress leader who did not want to be named.
He added that Pilot's appointment came through only because of his closeness with Gandhi, the Congress vice-president whom many in the party want to be named the PM nominee.
Pilot, however, has a strong base of backers in the state. Another senior leader said, "What's wrong in giving a chance to a new face with a clean image? He might not be able to do much in the Lok Sabha polls, but it is not about win or loss. The party is going through a transition phase. The old guard have done their bit."
A state leader positioned in Delhi said the introduction of young faces was part of a large strategy. Over the last year, new faces have been appointed as party chiefs in Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.
Celebrating Pilot's appointment, party workers in Ajmer and Jaipur distributed sweets and burst crackers. Ajmer Congress committee chief Mahendra Singh Ralawata said, "His appointment will rejuvenate the party."
Positions held by Pilot in the past:
* 2004-2009: Elected to 14th Lok Sabha from Dausa Member, committee on Home Affairs
* 2006-2009: Member, consultative committee, ministry of civil aviation
* 2009: elected to 15th Lok Sabha from Ajmer
* 2009-2012 (October 28): Union minister of state for communications and information technology
* October 28, 2012 onwards: Union minister of state (IC) for corporate affairs