‘I would have been a magician if I had not entered politics’, Ashok Gehlot once said. But he led Congress to a magical victory in Rajasthan. He has seen many ups and downs from taking the responsibility of reviving Congress in the state to becoming three-time Chief Minister.
Born in 1951 in Jodhpur, Gehlot made his entry into politics as a student leader and headed the Rajasthan unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the Congress student wing. He was elected five times to the Lok Sabha from Jodhpur and acquired a political stature under Rajiv Gandhi. He was a Minister under Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao.
Gehlot partnered Pilot in reviving the Congress fortunes in Rajasthan and bring it back to power. Extensively campaigning across the state for the Assembly polls, Gehlot focused on reaching out to the rural masses, particularly farmers, which yielded desired results. Congress emerged as the single largest party winning 99 of the 199 seats.