Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Tuesday said his party could have won the Rajasthan Assembly polls if they had made some more efforts, adding that differences between him and former chief minister Ashok Gehlot had been ironed out and they did not impact the poll results.
Speaking at the Lokmat National Conclave here, Mr Pilot said the Congress gave a good fight in Rajasthan. However, he regretted that they did not win.
“I felt in Rajasthan we had a very good chance. We made a lot of effort. But if we would have done a bit more, like changed the tickets… 17-18 out of 25 sitting ministers lost the election. If we would have picked different candidates, perhaps the performance would have been better,” he said.
Mr Pilot, who was the deputy chief minister in Rajasthan and was removed from the post after a fallout with Mr Gehlot, said he and the former chief minister have discussed the issues that were there, and they did not affect the election.
Asked if Mr Gehlot needs to be changed as a face for the next election, he said, “Next election is five years away”.
He also said the party may have failed to take care of its workers.
“I felt we needed some course correction. If we have taken a stand on an issue while in the opposition, can I change it after winning?… Our party workers worked hard for five years, which made the party win… If we would have given them more respect , a ‘stakeholdership’… It’s the energy of a worker that makes a party win,” he said.
Asked about Congress leaders having not attended the Ram temple consecration, he said religion and practising religion is a personal choice.
“This is a religious country. Everyone should be proud of practising their religion. But getting political gains out of it is wrong… State must be removed from religion,” he said.
“The Ram temple was constructed after a Supreme Court decision. Everyone is happy that a Ram temple was made… But who will invite people, how many will be invited, who decides that? Are we not Ram bhakts? I did not get an invitation,” he said.
“I can worship how I want and when I want. You cannot mandate it. It is a personal decision… Ram is everywhere,” he said, adding that there is no “discomfort” in the Congress over the Ram temple, adding that the Constitution is the “biggest scripture”.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on dynastic politics in Congress, he said, the PM is “obsessed” with Congress.
“It was his last speech of the present Lok Sabha. We were hoping that he will give a message to the world. Unfortunately it was about the Congress and not women and youth,” he said.
“The BJP should introspect how many MLAs and MPs they have whose parents are in politics… The BJP and the PM have no issues. They’re not talking about issues. They only want to do character assassination of the Congress,” he said.
He also said the Congress has a democratic election to choose its president as in the case of Mallikarjun Kharge. However, he questioned whether the BJP held an election to elect JP Nadda as its president.
“No one from the Gandhi family has been a CM or a PM for the last 30 years,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)