Rajasthan's new Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot during the swearing-in ceremony, at Albert Hall in Jaipur, on Monday, (PTI)
In a declaration that the Congress was back in the saddle, Rajasthan's new Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who had pledged not to wear a turban till his party returns to power in the state, proudly sported a red bandhej safa on Monday. Clad in white kurta-pajama with white Nehru jacket, Pilot donned the traditional turban while taking the oath of office.
The 41-year-old leader, who won Tonk assembly constituency in the recently concluded assembly elections, had pledged in 2014 not to wear the traditional turban till the party returns to power in the state. The Congress had faced defeat in 2013 assembly polls in the state. Pilot had been a former MP from Dausa and Ajmer.
On Monday, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot was sworn in as the chief minister of Rajasthan, while Pilot took oath as his deputy. Governor Kalyan Singh administered the oath of office to Gehlot and Pilot in the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh at the Albert Hall in Jaipur.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav were also present.
Janata Dal (Secular) president and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM's) Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) leader Babulal Marandi were among others who attended the event
DMK president MK Stalin, who had on Sunday proposed the name of Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate of the proposed anti-BJP front, was also there at the ceremony.
Gehlot has become the fourth leader to hold the chief minister's post for a third time. The Congress leader became the chief minister for the first time in 1998 and held the post again in 2008.
The venue was overcrowded and a large number of supporters of both Pilot and Gehlot gathered at the event. Several MLAs and senior leaders were seen jostling to reach their place where seating arrangements were made for them.