The Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot camps in Rajasthan Congress are engaged in a fierce battle. But it is the Rajasthan Speaker CP Joshi who has come into limelight.
CP Joshi’s political career has been just one step short of contentment. He had his moments but most of them slipped away from striking distance. This time around his disqualification notices to Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel MLAs has become a point of dispute.
A defiant Sachin Pilot had approached the Rajasthan High Court and secured a deferment against any action by the Rajasthan Speaker. The High Court had directed that it would hear the plea challenging disqualification notices on July 24 and in the meanwhile the Rajasthan Speaker approached the Supreme Court.
The Rajasthan Speaker wanted the apex court to stop the Rajasthan High Court from deciding the validity of the disqualification notices on Friday. However, Joshi has received a set back as the top Court refused to intervene at this stage.
Justice AK Mishra observed, “Assume a leader has lost the faith of persons. While remaining in party they cannot be disqualified. Then this will become a tool and no one can raise their voice. The voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be suppressed like this.”
More than Ashok Gehlot, consider this an opportunity lost for CP Joshi. The Congress government in Rajasthan is in a deep crisis. Earlier, it had the support of 124 MLAs. But the rebellion from the Sachin Pilot camp has brought down the numbers to 105. With a Congress MLA indisposed, and the CPM and the BSP MLAs not giving very good signals, the Congress numbers could easily fall below the majority mark.
However, if the Sachin Pilot camp gets disqualified, then the numerical strength of the Assembly as well as the number of those voting against the Gehlot government would go down. It would be easier for the Gehlot government to prove its majority.
CP Joshi seemed well on his way to make things easier for the Congress when he handed disqualification notices to 19 rebel MLAs. The Congress could have avoided a major setback. Joshi himself would have become a rockstar within his party, bolstering the prospects of the 69-year old veteran politician. But it wasn’t to be, or at least Joshi will have to wait a bit longer.
This actually sums up Joshi’s political journey. He has always been a leader who is just there, but still cannot make the most important stride to power. In 2008, Joshi had catapulted the Congress to an impressive victory in Rajasthan. Many had expected that Joshi would become the Chief Minister. But there was a twist in the tail.
CP Joshi lost his own election. The margin of the defeat- just one vote. One vote is all that kept Joshi away from Chief Ministership. Gehlot had then become the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, and according to The Print, this had strained the relationship between Gehlot and Joshi.
Joshi had another chance to make it big after the 2008 setback. According to a Bhilwara-based journalist, Pramod Tiwari, Joshi got close to Rahul Gandhi. He won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Bhilwara and got heavily rewarded. During the UPA-II government, Joshi got plum positions in the Union Cabinet, including the Ministry for Road and Transport, and additional charge of the Railways portfolio.
A Rajasthan Congress leader said, “He is a hard-core loyalist of the Gandhi family, especially Rahul Gandhi. Joshi has a special place in his heart.” An exception was carved in the Congress policy of ‘one general secretary, one state’ out for Joshi and he was made the General Secretary in-charge of ten states. Joshi had an opportunity to become a top-rung Congress leader, but he couldn’t succeed in the extraordinary role that was given to him. As the Congress faced setbacks in these ten states, Joshi missed the bus yet again.
The Rajasthan political crisis might just have been the last opportunity to rise to prominence for CP Joshi. However, this could also become an opportunity lost with a thin margin.