Congress leader Ashok Gehlot will be the next chief minister of Rajasthan, while state party president Sachin Pilot will be his deputy, the party announced on Friday. The two leaders were the front-runners for the position of chief minister after the Congress emerged the single-largest party in Assembly elections held recently.
Gehlot said they will take their oaths on December 17, ANI reported. He thanked Congress President Rahul Gandhi, the party’s legislators and the public for giving him the opportunity to serve the people of the state for the third time and vowed to work with Pilot to ensure “good governance”. Pilot said that the party will bag big wins in the 2019 polls too, PTI reported.
Gehlot, 67, is a general secretary of the party, and 41-year-old Pilot has been a former Union minister and is an ex-Lok Sabha MP. Both leaders met Gandhi over Thursday and Friday in New Delhi for several rounds of discussions. Pilot had on Thursday asked party workers to maintain peace and decorum, while Gehlot had said that the decision was taking time since the party president had to pick chief ministers for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as well.
Newly-elected MLAs of the party in each of the three states had met on Wednesday to pick their chief minister, but then decided to leave the choice to Gandhi. The party named Kamal Nath the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh late on Thursday.
Results declared on Tuesday showed the Congress had won 99 seats in the 200-member House and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party got 73 seats. Gehlot had retained the Sardarpura seat and Pilot had won the Tonk constituency in the Assembly elections.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party have offered support to the Congress to help the party cross the majority mark. Election for one constituency is yet to be held.
Shortly before the announcement of the chief minister, Congress president Rahul Gandhi shared a picture with Gehlot and Pilot, with the caption, “The united colours of Rajasthan!”
Besides, Rajasthan, the Congress also emerged the single-largest party in Madhya Pradesh, winning 114 seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had ruled the state for 15 years, won 109 seats. The half-way mark in the state is 116. In Chhattisgarh, the Congress won 68 seats, well above the majority mark of 46, dethroning the BJP government which had been in power for 15 years. The BJP managed to win only 15 seats.