But Gehlot admits he has failed in curbing population growth. “It is a very difficult task,” he says, “and a very sensitive subject. We have not been able to cut Rajasthan’s high population growth rate. It will be an important part of our agenda next time.”
The chief minister, who belongs to the Other Backward Classes, also laments the rise of caste-based politics, including in his Congress party. “Kya karein (What to do)?)? today so many decisions are based on caste,” he says, referring to the fact that in the distribution of tickets for the assembly election, a candidate’s caste is very important.
“I fear such thinking is dangerous not just for the state but for the country,” he says, adding that caste will remain a political factor in the near future. At this stage, he feels no party is willing to take the risk of ignoring it.