There is no Modi factor in Jodhpur : Vaibhav Gehlot 

Vaibhav Gehlot

The Rajasthan chief minister's son Vaibhav Gehlot is making an electoral debut. Vaibhav is trying to create his own identity as Congress party's candidate from Jodhpur Lok sabha Constituency. He is fighting against union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Excerpts of his interview with Tabeenah Anjum.

This is your maiden election, that too in your home turf. What is the response when you meet people here?

This my first election as a candidate but I have been always there in the back stage. I have been involved in politics since 2004. First I was involved with Youth Congress then I became a member of PCC and AICC. I have actively taken part in my father's campaign in Jodhpur. Later I was sent to Sawai Madhopur and Jhalawar in 2009 and 2014. This time I am telling the people of Jodhpur to vote for me. They have accepted me as a face here and I have received overwhelming response from them.

You are the son of sitting chief minister Ashok Gehlot. Does that impose pressure on you?

The chief minister is a stalwart and I have to maintain his footsteps. He has taught me to be honest, down-to-earth and work for poor. Every election has pressure, irrespective of whether you work in the backstage or are a candidate.

How do you connect with people?

I usually talk about the vision of Congress party. I am putting my candidature in front of them. I am appealing them to vote for me without any caste or creed.

If you are chosen to power, what new things will you do?

In last five years, there was a BJP rule in the state and centre. But Jodhpur has remained one of the most neglected cities of Rajasthan. In rural areas my focus will be on electricity and water. For urban areas, good road projects and industrial-friendly environment will remain my priority. Student counselling and career will also be my priority. Though in the past during the previous Congress government in state, seven universities have started functioning in Jodhpur but improvisation of education will be my priority. 

Do you find Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Narendra Modi's popularity as a challenge?

I am fighting against BJP, not Modi. I don't think Modi factor will work in Jodhpur. Because even after campaigning here during assembly elections, BJP lost six out of eight seats in this division. Every election is a challenge, right from ward level to Lok Sabha.

BJP is accusing the state of using its machinery in Jodhpur and western Rajasthan. How will you tackle the perception?

People of Rajasthan know what kind of person Honourable CM is. He will never indulge in such things. The ideology he follows will never allow him to do this. I don't need to tackle this, people know it.

Are people in Jodhpur satisfied with the last BJP tenure?

People of Jodhpur feel neglected. The promise of making Jodhpur a smart city was not fulfilled despite it being the second largest city after Jaipur. People felt insulted as there was disparity by centre as well as state.

Your opponent in last election won with the highest margin in state. Isn't that a threat for you?

It is people of Jodhpur who are fighting the elections. All the party workers and leaders are with me. I don't feel threatened at all. I am confident people will vote for better governance.

Your father, a seasoned politician is known as Marwar ka Gandhi. Any tips he has given you?

He has told me to work for a common man and be grounded. I never lived like a CM's son. I have always led a simple life, right from my college days in Pune till now.

How are you making your own identity?

I try to connect with people across caste and communities, youth and elderly. I share my thoughts and take feedback from them. This connect with a common man is helping me build my identity. 

 

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