Home Minister Amit Shah launched a scathing attack on the Congress party and its leaders in Rajasthan on Saturday, mocking both Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot for their internal feud and dismissing their chances of retaining power in the state.

He appealed to the Gujjar voters to switch their allegiance to the BJP and support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a “new India”. He said that the BJP would ensure good governance, security, infrastructure, health care, education and employment opportunities for all.

Speaking at a booth-level workers’ meeting in Bharatpur district, Mr Shah said that the Congress government in Rajasthan was a “failed experiment” that had betrayed the people’s mandate and plunged the state into chaos and corruption.

Mr Shah told Mr Pilot that he had wasted his time and energy in challenging Mr Gehlot and that he had no future in the Congress. “You may be more popular on the ground, but you are not going to be chief minister. The Congress will never give you that chance. You have been side lined and humiliated by your own party,” he said.

Pilot sits on dharna on any pretext, but his turn [to be Chief Minister] will not come because his contribution in filling the coffers of Congress party is less and Gehlot’s contribution is higher,” Mr Shah said, alleging that the Chief Minister had “looted” the state to fund the Congress.

Mr Shah’s remarks were significant as they came in a region of eastern Rajasthan that is dominated by the Gujjar community, to which Mr Pilot belongs. The Gujjars are a powerful and influential caste group that has often agitated for more political representation and reservation in government jobs and education.

In the last election, the BJP had given tickets to nine people from the Gujjar community.

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