Congress can challenge and defeat BJP: Sachin Pilot

Sachin Pilot. PTI file photo.

It is the Congress which can challenge and defeat BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Rajasthan's deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot said on Monday while exuding confidence that the UPA, led by his party, will form the next government at the Centre.

He said national and regional parties need to work together to fight powers "destroying" democratic institutions of the country.

"The NDA has weakened as its key constituents have left, whereas the parties in the UPA have expressed their faith in the leadership of Congress president Rahul Gandhi," Pilot told reporters here.

"UPA will form the government in 2019 in Congress leadership," he said.

Responding to a question on the Congress being left out of the SP-BSP pre-poll tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, Pilot said his party should not be considered weak.

"It is the Congress which can challenge and defeat the BJP. The party has won three states which gave new energy to our workers. We will now form the government at the Centre," the Rajasthan deputy chief minister said.

Left out of the SP-BSP pre-poll tie-up in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress on Sunday announced it would go it alone on all 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the upcoming general election.

Congress general secretary in-charge of UP Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, has said his party would accommodate any secular force capable of taking on the ruling BJP in the Lok Sabha election.

About preparations for the Lok Sabha elections, Pilot said the Congress will hold week-long meetings with the representatives of each Lok Sabha seat for finalising the candidates.

He said that the party will give a ticket to winnable candidates and youths would be on focus.

When asked about Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's son Vaibhav, who is in the race for getting a ticket for the Lok Sabha polls, he said that preliminary talks have been held and the party will give a ticket to winnable candidates.

"Vaibhav Gehlot has been active in the party for a long time. He might not have got the opportunity due to some reasons in the past but it will be our endeavour that candidates like him get a chance to come forward. Party focus is on youths and there will be an effort to give a chance to them," Pilot said.

Pilot, who has completed five years as the president of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee, said the journey was challenging but the party won all elections in the state, be it panchayat, assembly and Lok Sabha bypolls and the recently held Assembly elections.

"We worked together and won elections with the support and strength of our lakhs of workers in the state," he said.

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