Sachin Pilot, the young and dynamic leader from Rajasthan who rebelled against the Congress party, has nullified any chances of joining BJP, and said, “For five years, I have worked hard battling the BJP. As part of Rajasthan Congress, I worked to oust the BJP and bring in a Congress government.
If someone is making political overtures, it can’t be made out that I will join them,” Pilot said.
This is a tight slap on the face of old guards of Congress party including Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot who alleged who accused that he is playing in the hands of BJP. “Those saying that I am joining the BJP are trying to tarnish my image. I have not said a single word against the party despite provocations and being stripped of posts,” he said.
Now various reports have suggested that Pilot would probably form his own party. If the youth leader goes ahead with this plan, it will be a masterstroke.
The youth leader is highly popular in the state, especially among two dominant castes- Gurjars (to which he belongs) and Meenas. He is known for cooling down the animosity between the two castes after violent Gurjar reservation protest against Meenas. He bridged the differences between the two communities and brought them to Congress fold, which helped the party to win the election as the grand old party bagged 43 of 49 seats in Eastern Rajasthan where these two groups are dominant.
Pilot is young, educated and hard-working and has the support of two dominant caste groups, therefore, a CM figure in every sense. But, if he joins BJP, the people of the state would take him like just another power hungry opportunist. Therefore, joining BJP could be politically suicidal for him in long-term.
However, if he forms his own party and campaign against Congress for betraying mandate of the people and not working for welfare of the masses, it would generate huge sympathy wave for him.
If one analyzes his statements, those were in same direction- accusing Gehlot government of not allowing him to work for upliftment of the people. “I’m not angry with him. I’m not demanding any special power or privilege. All I wanted was that Congress government in Rajasthan worked towards delivering the promises we made in the run up to the elections,” he said on the differences with Gehlot.
“He [Ashok Gehlot] did not allow me and my followers the dignity and space to work for Rajasthan’s development. The bureaucrats were asked not to follow my directives, files were not sent to me, Cabinet meetings and CLP meetings had not been held for months. What’s the worth of a position if that doesn’t allow me to fulfill the commitments I made to my people?” Pilot said in an interview with India Today magazine.
Imagine the kind of sympathy he would get from voters while campaigning on Congress’s anti-incumbency. To get an idea how he could sway the election in Rajasthan, look at what Jaganmohan Reddy did in Andhra Pradesh. After Congress high command refused to make him CM face, Reddy formed a party in the name of his father- YSR Congress Party- who was a popular leader and won 2019 assembly election with humongous majority, routing Congress support base.
Sachin Pilot’s father- Rajesh Pilot- was also a popular leader and he could adopt the playbook by Jaganmohan to defeat Congress as well as BJP. Even if his party would not get majority numbers, BJP would be more than willing to offer him outside support to keep Congress out of power.
If he joins BJP, there is no way that party’s regional leadership led by Vasundhara Raje- a close friend of Gehlot- would give him space to become CM face. Therefore, by forming his own party, Pilot could beat the competition in BJP as well as Congress and become CM of the state even if his party wins 50 seats.
If his party gets majority, then Sachin Pilot will become CM anyway, and even if he does gets majority and comes third after BJP and Congress, the saffron party would support him just like Congress supported JD(S) in Karnataka to keep BJP out of power.
Therefore, Pilot, a young and dynamic politician who single handedly scripted Congress’s victory in 2018 assembly election, got his math right and it looks like he is going Jagan Reddy way rather than friend and former colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia way.