The political crisis of Rajasthan – which was inevitable with the Congress high command’s decision of coronating Ashok Gehlot as the Chief Minister, even when the bulk of the mandate was won by Sachin Pilot, is refusing to die down. What is intriguing to witness, perhaps in what is a first, is the state Congress’ willingness to forgo attacking the state BJP leadership, which for reasons best known to the saffron party, is led by a highly unpopular Vasundhara Raje.
As a consequence, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress of Rajasthan has set out on a mission to drag Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat’s name through the mud. Shekhawat, the Union Jal Shakti Minister has been accused by the Congress of hatching a conspiracy, on behalf of the BJP, to topple the Ashok Gehlot government, and has also, according to the Congress, been caught indulging in horse trade. In order to add weight to the said allegation, the Congress allegedly fabricated audiotapes, in which they claim Shekhawat to be talking to Congress rebel Bhanwarlal Sharma and one Sanjay Jain, who they have said arranged the conversation between the two.
Shekhawat, speaking to The Indian Express has now opened up on why he is being targeted by the Gehlot-led Congress of Rajasthan. The reason given by the Union Minister is a simple one; that Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Ashok Gehlot, was defeated by him from Jodhpur constituency during the 2019 general elections. When asked why Raje and Satish Punia, State BJP Chief were not being attacked by the Congress, Shekhawat said, “The Congress knows that better. But what I understand is, initially I thought he was using my shoulders to train his guns on his PCC chief (Pilot), but now I realise he was trying to kill two birds with one stone: finish Sachin Pilot and defame me. All I have done is, I defeated his (Gehlot’s) son Vaibhav in the election [from Jodhpur Lok Sabha seat].”
What Shekhawat is saying is not far from the truth. In fact, the Jodhpur constituency was a prestige battle for Ashok Gehlot himself, and his son losing the same to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat by over 2.5 lakh votes came as a rude shock, especially when the media and Congress sympathisers were but certain of heavy damages to the BJP in the Hindi heartland in 2019. Ashok Gehlot, in all likelihood, is pursuing and giving effect to a personal vendetta against Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
It is no hidden secret that the state machinery of the BJP is acting rather weirdly lethargic when it comes to pouncing on an opportunity which has come on a platter for them, to dislodge the Gehlot government. Many are even suggestive of a secret alliance between Gehlot and Raje, to get rid of Sachin Pilot. Sachin Pilot, if not keen on joining the BJP, could prove to be a rather big threat for Vasundhara Raje herself in the near future, which explains why she would rather sit back and let Gehlot try and obliterate Pilot’s career. For Gehlot, of course, Pilot has come as a crisis like no other.