Months after the bitter lobbying for the Rajasthan chief minister's post between him and state Congress chief Sachin Pilot, Ashok Gehlot said he became the CM because he deserved it.
Without mentioning Pilot, who is now the deputy chief minister, Gehlot said Rahul Gandhi picked him for the post as villagers wanted only him there.
"Mera CM banna banta tha (I deserved to become the chief minister)," Gehlot said at a press conference after presenting the state Budget here.
He said sentiments were high among people in villages during the assembly elections last year that "no one else but Ashok Gehlot should become the chief minister".
"It was clear by name who should become the CM and who should not. Respecting the public sentiments, Rahul Gandhi as the Congress president gave me the chance," he said.
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot were in the race for the post after the party won the assembly elections in December last year.
After days of intense deliberations in Delhi, the Congress named Gehlot as the chief minister and Pilot as his deputy.
Gehlot said he remembered expectations of people and the kind affection they showed for him.
Prior to these comments, Gehlot said delivering good, transparent and accountable governance was their priority.
He asked officials to work with integrity, claiming that the Rajasthan's bureaucracy, except a few officers, was better than other states.
"There are some officers who look at the watch for 5 pm...this is all in my knowledge," he said, asking officials to perform their duty well.
He said Rahul Gandhi had said during electioneering that our government would work round the clock for people.
"We are working in that manner and officers should also work considering themselves as trustees of the public interest," he said.
He said improving the law and order situation was their priority, for which he had given a free hand to the state DGP.
He asked the police not to listen to those who protect rapists or other criminals.
However, he said, that if a public representative took sides or gave suggestions against something wrong, his view should be considered, irrespective of his political affiliation to ensure justice.