Anxious to move out of the rather large shadow of his father, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress’ Jodhpur candidate Vaibhav Gehlot says he has come up the ranks and the party gave him a ticket after seeing his work for 15 years.
The legacy of his father, a five-term MP from Jodhpur, does not apply to him, Vaibhav Gehlot said as he gears up to fight his first election.
Asserting that he is contesting the election, against BJP incumbent Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, on the issue of development, the junior Gehlot also accused the BJP-led Centre and the former Vasundhara Raje government in the state of “step-motherly” treatment to the constituency.
"In 2004, I actively worked in the wards of Jodhpur Lok Sabha constituency and participated in the door-to-door campaign in Jodhpur.
“My father’s legacy does not apply to me because, after working for 15 years in the party, I have now got an opportunity to get a ticket to contest the Jodhpur Lok Sabha constituency,” Vaibhav Gehlot told PTI in an interview.
The 39-year-old claimed he was "an active worker" in the Congress for 15 years in Rajasthan. Since 2003, he has actively worked with "full dedication" through the Youth Congress, he said.
Promising to focus on development if he wins in the elections on April 29, Vaibhav Gehlot added that he was injured during a protest against anti-people schemes of the then BJP government in 2005.
Jodhpur, considered Ashok Gehlot’s home turf, has become a battle of prestige in this election with the three-time chief minister’s son being fielded against a Union minister.
Shekhawat, the Union minister of state for agriculture, defeated Congress' Chandresh Kumari by over four lakh votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Vaibhav Gehlot was born in 1980 when Ashok Gehlot became MP from Jodhpur for the first time.
There are around 19.5 lakh voters in Lok Sabha constituency dominated by Rajputs and Jats.
Expressing confidence that he will win, the poll debutant said he was not working or doing business in any foreign country or outside Rajasthan and was therefore given the chance to prove his electoral credentials.
Asked whether he has an edge in Jodhpur because of his father, he said he is contesting elections with the support of the people of Jodhpur and party workers and will definitely succeed because of this.
He alleged that both the Centre and the earlier Vasundhara Raje government ignored Marwar region, which also includes Barmer and Jodhpur districts.
"The Central government and the earlier BJP government in Rajasthan meted out step-motherly treatment to Marwar region.
"The BJP dispensation at both the Centre and state-level ignored Marwar. In the coming days, I will try my level best to make robust system to provide basic facilities including water and electricity, to the people of Jodhpur,” Vaibhav Gehlot said.
He also wanted to know why Jodhpur was not selected under the Smart City Mission, a flagship programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said the BJP-led Central government did not choose Jodhpur under its Smart City Mission despite the fact that it is the second-largest biggest district in the state, and fulfils all laid-down parameters.
“There is rail and air connectivity in Jodhpur. What was the reason for not choosing Jodhpur under the Smart City Mission?” Vaibhav Gehlot asked.
He ruled out any Modi wave in the Jodhpur Lok Sabha constituency.