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No regret on not becoming the CM: Sachin Pilot

"Our endeavour is to have a healthy mix of people with experience and age and young people who can bring new ideas. You would see a balance in the new cabinet."

, ET Bureau|
Dec 22, 2018, 08.42 AM IST
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"The onus is on me to deliver our poll promises."

Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot said farm loan waiver alone may not resolve the agrarian crisis, but it definitely is part of the solution. In an interview with Kumar Anshuman, Pilot discusses his government’s priorities and plan for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Excerpts:

Is there regret that you did not become chief minister?
There is absolutely no regret. In fact, I am honoured, privileged and thankful to the party leadership for giving me an opportunity. There are very few people in the party who can claim to have got so much from the party. I became an MP at 26, a minster at 31, a state president at 35, and now I am the deputy CM. The onus is on me to deliver our poll promises.

But doesn’t it give the impression that no matter how much you talk about promoting the youth, the old guard takes the key positions?
Young people have always been given space in the party, and that’s why leaders like me came this far. If you see the top leadership, no one runs after any position. No one from the Gandhi family has become the PM and CM in the last 30 years, even when they got a chance. So it’s not about position. The purpose was to defeat the BJP and collective effort made it possible. We started from 21 seats, and in five years we have increased our numbers five times. I was party to the decision-making process and can say that whatever is best has been done.

There is criticism that farm loan waiver is not the solution. Do you agree?
Farm loan waiver is not the solution, but one part of the solution. Unlike the BJP government, which waited for five years to announce populous measures, our government offered the waiver within 48 hours. Now we have to develop a new architecture for resolving the agrarian crisis. Things like cold chain, access to credit and market, new technology to ensure higher productivity, all will take time. Rahul Gandhi’s priority is clear that we have to support farmers. The irony is those who are waiving. Rs 1 lakh crore or 2 lakh crore to certain individuals are questioning that.

Will farmers be the main issue for 2019 polls for Congress?
Thanks to Rahul Gandhi, farmers have become the focal point. BJP wants to make Hanuman Ji and his caste the discussion point. Gandhi talks about jobs, farmers and economy. BJP is trying to distort the narrative, because they have failed on every front. It’s good that the country is finally looking at farmers. You would see that our government will deliver the promise made in our manifesto much faster than any BJP government is doing.

How will your government address the problem of urea shortage?
This is a legacy that BJP has left. But we will overcome all these shortcomings. I hope that the central government works in an unbiased fashion and deals with the new governments as they have been doing with the earlier ones.

What will the new cabinet look like?
Our endeavour is to have a healthy mix of people with experience and age and young people who can bring new ideas. You would see a balance in the new cabinet.

In 2014, Congress lost all 25 LS seats of Rajasthan. What is your expectation for 2019?
We won two by-elections earlier this year and will win 20 more seats in 2019. We have just won an assembly election and we are on to the job of fulfilling people’s expectations. I am sure people’s trust will increase manifold through our performance.
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