Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018: Vasundhara Raje, Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot – Profiles of 3 CM Probables in Fray

Mohammed Uzair Shaikh
The counting of votes for Rajasthan Assembly Elections 2018 will take place on Tuesday, December 11. Counting of votes will begin at 8 am and the final results along with the list of winners are expected to be declared by the Election Commission by tomorrow afternoon.

Jaipur, December 6: As Rajasthan goes to assembly polls tomorrow, voters are intrigued to know who would next chief minister of the frontier state. While the BJP has confirmed that Vasundhara Raje would take oath again if the party is re-elected to power, the Congress appears to be a divided house, with a consensus yet to be reached on the CM candidate. The passive battle is wedged between former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and party's state unit president Sachin Pilot. Brief profiles of the three CM probables in fray:

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Vasundhara Raje: The 65-year-old holds the honour of being the first woman chief minister of Rajasthan, having held the post between 2003-08. In 2013, she succeeding ousting the Gehlot government, and was sworn-in for the second time. BJP Will Snatch Victory from Congress' Hands, Says Narendra Modi.

Born to the Scindia Royal family of erstwhile Gwalior Kingdom, Raje made forays into Rajasthan politics in 1985, when she won the assembly segment of Dholpur. She subsequently ascended to the Lok Sabha, winning the Jhalawar parliamentary seat in 1990. She held the constituency for five consecutive terms till 2003.

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Since 2003, she has been representing the Jhalrapatan constituency in the state legislative assembly. She faces her most stringent contest this time -- being challenged by Congress leader Manvendra Singh -- a BJP turncoat and son of former Union Minister Jaswant Singh.

Ashok Gehlot: The Congress veteran has served as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan on two earlier occasions. He currently holds the Sardarpura constituency in the Rajasthan legislative assembly, which he has represented consecutively since 1999.

Gehlot's entry into politics could be dated back to 1971, when he had organised Congress workers in eastern states to aid the refugees entering from the then East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Impressed by his organisational skills, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi hand picked him as the Rajasthan unit president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI).

The 67-year-old has served as a Lok Sabha MP on five occasions, representing the Jodhpur parliamentary seat from 1984-89, and 1991-1998.

He was sworn-in as the Rajasthan CM for the first time in 1998, when the Congress had succeeded to oust the then BJP government led by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. He continued to hold the post till 2003, before being defeated by the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP. In 2008, Gehlot shot back to power, by wresting the state from Raje. However, his political stature was dealt with a lethal blow in 2013, when the Congress clocked its worst ever performance in the state -- winning only 21 of the 200 assembly seats.

Sachin Pilot: The 41-year-old is not only the youngest among the trio -- but if opinion polls are to be considered -- the most popular CM probable in the fray. Since he took over as the Congress' Rajasthan unit chief in 2014 -- after the poll debacle -- the party has succeeded in gaining back electoral grounds from where they were wiped away in the last elections. Pollsters have credited him for the string of state by-election victories for the Congress in the last 4 years.

Pilot was introduced to politics through family lineage, as his late father Rajesh Pilot was a former Union Minister and a senior leader of the Congress.

He made his electoral debut in 2009, contesting from the parliamentary seat of Ajmer. The constituency was wrested by Pilot with a margin of 76,000 votes. In the UPA-II government, he had also held the portfolio of Union Corporate Affairs Ministry. In 2014, however, Pilot wa wiped away in the Modi-wave, being defeated from Ajmer by a margin of over 1,71,000 votes.