'Magician' is once again Rajasthan CM

Exactly one year ago, when 67-year-old Gehlot was elevated as the party’s general secretary and made in-charge of “Organisation and Training,” many in Rajasthan got an impression that he may not return to the state. (Photo by Suman Sarkar)

The magician, also fondly known as Marwar ka Gandhi, is once again the chief minister of Rajasthan.

The announcement may have come as a shock to many but those who know him since he was appointed as the chief minister of Rajasthan for the first time in 1998 were confident of his skills to grab the seat for the third time.

Exactly one year ago, when 67-year-old Gehlot was elevated as the party’s general secretary and made in-charge of “Organisation and Training,” many in Rajasthan got an impression that he may not return to the state.

But even before the news spread, Gehlot on record commented publicly, "Thasu koi Door Nahin ( I am not away from Rajasthan )".

He started visiting Rajasthan frequently and kept dropping hints that he will continue to stay in the state. A few months later he even went on to say that: "Mukhyamantri ka chehra tau awoke saamne hai" (chief ministers face is in front of you).

Gehlot has been a chief minister two times – from 1998 to 2003 and then from 2008 to 2013. This time with 99 legislators, the AICC believes Gehlot’s experience and acceptance among the state unit will be more useful whereas Pilot’s energy will be used as deputy chief minister.

In 2018, Gehlot's stature in the party had risen after the Congress performed well in Gujarat followed by his skills to cobble up a post-poll coalition with Janata Dal (Secular) to form the government in Karnataka after the recent Assembly elections.

Gehlot, also seen as an accessible leader, was brought into politics by former prime minister Indira Gandhi, who noticed his work with refugees in the Northeast in the 1970s.

Known as a pro-poor leader, Gehlot headed the Rajasthan unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) from 1974 to 1979, in his early years as a politician.

He was then elected as the Jodhpur district Congress committee president (1979 to 1982) and elevated as the state Congress committee’s general secretary.

He was first elected to Parliament in 1980 and won the Lok Sabha elections four more times.

A Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist, his association with the family dates back to the 1970s when he taught Priyanka and Rahul the tricks of magic at 10, Janpath. He picked up the skills as a young lad from his father, a magician.

Gehlot has won five times from Jodhpur’s Sardarpura Assembly constituency since 1999. He has served as a minister of state in the ministries of tourism, civil aviation, sports and textiles between 1982 and 1993.

He was also the AICC general secretary in charge of Delhi and the Sewa Dal cell from 2004-2009 and member of the Congress Working Committee looking after Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Born on May 3, 1951, in Jodhpur, Gehlot has studied science and law and also holds a master’s degree in economics.

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'Magician' is once again Rajasthan CM

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