Jaipur: His hair may have been dishevelled on Friday but Ashok Gehlot's plans of what to do once officially sworn in as CM were perfectly in place.
After an intense struggle with party colleague and state Congress chief Sachin Pilot in the race to become Rajasthan's next CM, Gehlot emerged victorious and was quick to note that he will take over from where he had left off in 2013. "We had done a lot of good work the last time we were in power but the Vasundhara Raje government brought an end to most of those. There was a sense of anger among people for Raje's style of governance, her high-handedness," said the two-time CM at a press conference on Friday, visibly fatigued from marathon meetings and repeated shuttling between Jaipur and New Delhi. "We will re-start the work and projects we had undertaken the last time we were in power."
Congress rode to a rather comfortable win in a state which the party had lost miserably in 2013. It won 99 seats in the recently-concluded elections while it had only secured 21 the last time around when BJP had established its complete supremacy in the state. Anti-incumbency was blamed by the Congress then. It is the reason cited by BJP now.
For Gehlot though, the path ahead is one riddled with several challenges. He has had to fend off a stiff challenge from Pilot in the race to be CM but will now count on his support as the deputy CM in fulfilling tall promises made in Jan Ghoshna Patra, the Congress manifesto. At the very top would be farm loan waivers to show that Congress has what it takes to deal with the prevailing agrarian crisis. In the manifesto, it was promised that Congress would do so within ten days of coming to power.
And the clock is already ticking.
In addition, the party has promised Rs 3,500 as monthly allowance to unemployed youth, free education for women, schools and universities.
With the BJP keeping a close watch as the opposition, Gehlot will have a lot to prove in his bid to restart old projects as well as introducing new ones.