In the last one and a half year, after the Congress government came to power in Rajasthan, the tussle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot- the CM and Deputy CM respectively- has been very public. Sachin Pilot, the Pradesh Congress Committee Chief under whose leadership the party won 2018 assembly election has Chief Ministerial ambitions, but the party chose the old Gandhi family loyalist- Ashok Gehlot instead.
After Gehlot got the chair, thanks to Pilot whose excellent work helped the party to get a majority, he sidelined the later who was consoled with the post of Deputy CM. “The deputy chief minister had limited powers and wouldn’t be consulted on any decisions in the state. Most of the times he found out about cabinet decisions from media reports,’’ said a person as per a report by Hindustan Times.
Now, Pilot has decided to revolt and reached to Delhi with 25 legislators loyal to him. It seems MP playbook is out in Rajasthan this time. Gehlot led Rajasthan government has the support of 124 MLAs as of now and the opposition has 76 MLAs. If the 25 MLAs who have rebelled are disqualified, Congress would be 2 MLAs short of majority mark- 101. If by-elections take place, BJP might win the elections with Sachin Pilot on its side and form government. Or, BJP could break into the 17 independents and different party MLAs who support Congress government, to make government without a by-election.
Congress leaders of the state unit are worried and the matter has now been briefed to high command. “No meetings have taken place between Sachin Pilot and the BJP leadership. Everyone knows there are problems between the CM and the deputy CM, but they are trying to pin the blame on the BJP,” said a party leader in Delhi.
The political power tussle going on between Sachin Pilot (young-Turk) and Ashok Gehlot (old-dynast) is not hidden from anyone. Pilot just like Scindia was undermined by the party high command when Gehlot was chosen over him as the state Chief Minister. The veiled attacks and war of words have continued ever since. While senior leadership remains aloof of these conflicts, the animosity between the two leaders grows by the day. The central leadership of the Congress is vulnerable before Gehlot who enjoys the confidence of the Gandhi family. Pilot has been repeatedly given the cold shoulder on several occasions and it’s only a matter of time when he deserts the party.
It seems, this is the moment Pilot was waiting for, as his PCC chief is about to end and he has been served a letter by Gehlot government to appear for questioning in horse-trading ahead of Rajya Sabha elections. “Never before has sitting state president or a Deputy Chief Minister served such letter,” sources close to Mr Pilot said. “The High command has not done anything to intervene,” they added.