Bringing an end to the three-day impasse on the question of leadership in the state, the Congress party on Friday appointed Ashok Gehlot as the new chief minister of Rajasthan.
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The party also appointed Sachin Pilot as the deputy chief minister.
The Congress emerged as the single-largest party in Rajasthan in Tuesday’s vote count, winning 99 seats. Its ally Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) won one seat for a total of 100 seats — the required number to form the government.
The BJP got 73 seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party won six seats. BSP leader Mayawati on Wednesday pledged support for the Congress. The CPI(M) got two seats, Independents won 13 and other parties got six, according to the state Election Commission.
On Wednesday, a delegation of the Congress had met state governor Kalyan Singh to stake claim to form the government.
Along with Pilot, Gehlot was tasked with reviving the fortunes of the opposition Congress in Rajasthan.
There was hectic lobbying for the top post and both leaders had staked their claim for the post of chief minister.
In his early years as a politician, Gehlot headed the Rajasthan unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and was later seen as a staunch loyalist of the Nehru family. Some in the party called him "gilli billi", a tag which referred to his past when he performed magic as an assistant to his father Laxman Singh Daksh on his tours.
Sometimes called "Rajasthan's Gandhi" for his simple lifestyle and mass connect, Gehlot has been chief minister twice earlier.
The first stint was in 1998-2003 and the second ended in 2013, with the BJP's Vasundhara Raje succeeding him each time.
Gehlot has also been at the helm of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee four times.
Currently, an All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, Gehlot was deployed by the party in crucial roles at the national level.
He was appointed AICC general secretary in charge of Gujarat just months ahead of last year's assembly polls. The Congress didn't win but managed to give the BJP a big scare in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state.
In the recent Karnataka assembly polls, he was there in Bengaluru along with Ghulam Nabi Azad to help stitch together a post-poll coalition with Janata Dal (Secular) to form the government.
After his first proper job in the organisation as NSUI's Rajasthan president from 1974 to 1979, he went on to become the Jodhpur district Congress committee president from 1979 to 1982. Then, he was elevated as the state Congress committee's general secretary.
Gehlot was first-elected to Parliament in 1980, and went on to win Lok Sabha elections four more times. Since 1999, he has represented the Sardarpura assembly constituency, winning five consecutive terms in the House.
At the centre, Gehlot has served as a minister of state in the ministries of tourism, civil aviation, sports and textiles, in different stints between 1982 and 1993.
He was also the AICC general secretary in charge of Delhi and the Sewa Dal cell from 2004-2009 and member of the Congress Working Committee looking after Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
With inputs from PTI.