Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot last month became the President of Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) for the second time. He is set to get political mileage from the appointment.
On December 24, a day after RCA poll results were declared, Vaibhav was reappointed as the President of RCA for the second time for a period of three years.
In Vaibhav’s previous term during 2019-22, his three major achievements are: the construction of a new stadium in Jaipur, the renovation of Barkatullah Khan Stadium in Jodhpur, and holding an international cricket match after eight years in Jaipur’s SMS Stadium.
In his second innings, the 42-year-old Vaibhav now eyes improving the infrastructure of Rajasthan cricket at district-level and signing pacts for stadiums’ construction.
Vaibhav Gehlot’s political journey
Vaibhav made his entry to RCA in 2019 with the support of Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, who is also a former RCA president.
Despite being a member of Congress for several years, Vaibhav’s entry into electoral politics was only in 2019. He contested the Lok Sabha elections in April 2019 and lost to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat by a margin of 2.7 lakh votes.
Coincidentally, it was the same constituency from where his father Ashok Gehlot had been a five-time MP in the past.
Vaibhav Gehlot’s RCA foray, political significance
A few months after the electoral defeat, Vaibhav became the President of RCA with the support of Joshi, a move seen as Senior Gehlot’s move at ensuring a public profile of his son despite the initial setback in electoral politics.
Vaibhav may have lost the MP polls from his home district but he continued to work for the development of Jodhpur which became evident when the stadium was inaugurated by CM Ashok Gehlot in September last year.
With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections just over a year away, Vaibhav will be hoping that the Jodhpur public will appreciate his work as the RCA president.
The fact that Vaibhav was elected the president of RCA unopposed for a second term shows that the cricketing body is presently firmly in the grasp of loyalists of Vaibhav and Assembly Speaker Joshi.
The RCA has always acted as a power corridor. Former Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman Lalit Modi and sitting Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi are predecessors of Vaibhav who were elected as the RCA presidents for multiple terms.
Lalit Modi was the undisputed boss of the RCA and enjoyed close proximity with the previous Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government. However, he lost his influence in the cricketing body in recent years ever since Joshi defeated his son in 2017 to be elected as the RCA president.