BJP's Tonk candidate cites Gehlot's 'post not leaving him' jibe, says Pilot doesn't have 'CM face' advantage

BJP's Tonk candidate cites Gehlot's 'post not leaving him' jibe, says Pilot doesn't have 'CM face' advantage

Tonk (Rajasthan), Nov 18 (PTI) Pitching his Assembly poll contest with Congress leader Sachin Pilot as a 'local-versus-outsider' battle, BJP's Tonk candidate Ajit Singh Mehta cites Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's 'post is not leaving him' remark to claim that Pilot does not have the 'chief ministerial face advantage' that he had in 2018.

Mehta, who was an MLA from this constituency from 2013 to 2018, has been handed the tough assignment by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to take on former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Pilot, who won from here over his BJP rival Yoonus Khan in 2018 by a record margin of more than 54,000 votes.

Mehta is pitching this as a 'local-versus-outsider' battle, asserting that he is a Tonk resident who knows the micro-problems faced by people and claiming that Pilot is an 'outsider' who had won big last time due to the chief ministerial face advantage he had.

'The most important thing is that the election is one of a local versus an outsider. It was a different matter during the last election as he (Pilot) was a chief ministerial face and the president of the state unit of his party. Today, he is also fighting the election for becoming an MLA and so am I,' Mehta told PTI while campaigning in Sankhana village here on Friday.

'The chief minister (Gehlot) has said he wants to leave the post but the post is not leaving him. Entire Rajasthan knows that the chief minister's face is decided (in the Congress). He (Pilot) is fighting to become an MLA and for the first time, facing a local person. It is an election of a local versus an outsider,' the BJP leader said.

His remarks came weeks after Gehlot, at a press conference in Delhi, said he wants to leave the chief minister's post but it is not leaving him and probably, may not leave him in the future too.

The remarks had come amid a long-running power tussle between Gehlot and Pilot.

Mehta also accused Pilot of not being among the people of the constituency in the last five years.

'In the last five years, after winning by more than 54,000 votes, he (Pilot) did not participate in the good and bad times of the people even 54 times,' he said.

'Our Assembly segment lost out on development,' Mehta claimed.

Mehta said he had been an MLA from here for five years and be it roads, water or sanitation, he had worked hard to provide all facilities to people.

'The mood of the people is of change and a public representative who was not among the people and did not hear their problems, I do not know on what basis (he will seek votes). The blessings and love I am getting from the people, change in this Assembly constituency is definite,' Mehta said.

He alleged that for the last five years, the people of Rajasthan have been reeling under a 'government of misgovernance, which is number 1 in corruption, atrocities on women, playing with the future of youngsters and betraying farmers'.  Pitching himself as a local resident, Mehta said it makes a big difference if one is a local.

'He (Pilot) came from outside and won. People made him victorious by 54,000 votes thinking that he is the chief ministerial face, but does he care about small issues of the people? When I was the MLA, people would raise issues of electricity, hospitals and small basic needs, which need to be fulfilled. Local people are aware of these problems and stand with them in their needs,' Mehta said.

'I am getting enormous love and affection and that is why the Congress candidate, who did not go anywhere for five years, is going to every street and bylane appealing for votes. But people are now aware and a change is definite,' he asserted.

Pilot had won the electoral contest from Tonk in 2018, defeating the BJP's only Muslim candidate in the state, Yoonus Khan.

It was the first Assembly election for Pilot, a two-time former member of Parliament. He had defeated Khan with a margin of 54,179 votes from the seat that is dominated by Muslims and Gurjars.

Rajasthan goes to polls on November 25 and the results will be declared on December 3. PTI ASK RC

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