Gehlot confident of Congress win in Rajasthan, woos independents

Jaipur, Dec 11: Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday expressed confidence that the Congress would take power in the state and said it was ready to ally with independents.

"The Congress is open to form a government with independent candidates," Gehlot told the media as it became clear that the Congress could fall short of the half-way mark in the 200-member Assembly by a seat or two.

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Post noon, Congress candidates were leading over their rivals in 95 of the 197 constituencies, from where trends were available, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 78 others.

This meant that two dozen seats could go to smaller parties and independents, making them a crucial factor in government formation.

The BJP took power in Rajasthan with a decisive majority five years ago.

Gehlot praised Congress President Rahul Gandhi for the party's resurgence.

"Since the Gujarat elections, Rahul Gandhi has cornered (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji and (BJP President) Amit Shah. Since then, they have not been able to stand up, be it Karnataka or Rajasthan," he said.

Congress state President Sachin Pilot added: "The Congress shall form a government with a majority. But we should wait till the final results."

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who went to the Tripurasundari temple in Banswara district on Tuesday morning, returned to the BJP office in Jaipur but did not speak to the media.

She met senior party leaders at the BJP office, which gave a desolate look.