Sachin Pilot, the young and dynamic leader from Rajasthan who rebelled against the Congress party but eventually returned to his old school. As a political leader, he was able to grab public support from a wide-range of communities. However, he had to taste the setback of his shortcomings. In the aftermath of not being able to stand against Congress, his supporter base is now shrinking rapidly.
Sachin Pilot- who led Congress to victory
It is evident from party supporters that the Congress camp is looking to retain the support of the Gujjar community that it had enjoyed earlier with Sachin Pilot. The community had voted for Congress during the 2018 Assembly elections, when he was leading the party’s campaign as the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) president.
While recently addressing the Gujjar community, Ved Prakash Solanki, who is a Sachin Pilot loyalist leader, asserted that he was not with any party but with Sachin Pilot. He also included that Congress had won the elections due to the supporters of Sachin Pilot.
Solanki, the Congress MLA from Chaksu said, “Has there been another such jati (community) in Rajasthan that completely decimated the BJP? Not even one MLA (of the BJP in Gujjar-dominated seats) won! I want to thank the (Gujjar) BJP workers who totally closed their eyes. They may have voted for themselves but all their family members voted for the hand symbol (Congress).”
All in all, Sachin Pilot overhauled the entire Congress party’s cadre. He was the actual winner of the 2018 elections, as he connected with the people on ground. This made him the popular Congress face among the masses of Rajasthan.
The betrayal to the Rajasthan populace
During the 2018 state elections, the Congress party fought elections with Sachin Pilot as its front, which eventually proved to be a successful tactic. However, this political technique resulted in betrayal towards the voters of Rajasthan, who expected Pilot as their leader.
On one hand, with BJP’s Vasundhra Raje facing incompetency in the state of Rajasthan with the slogans like “Modi tujhse bair nahi par Rani Teri khair nahi”, Congress had an opportunity to not just win votes but hearts too. On the other hand, Sachin Pilot as the popular leader tried to retaliate against the party high command. He had the opportunity to be just like Eknath Shinde but could not gather the courage to do so.
Therefore, in the wake of Sachin Pilot not being able to stand unto his supporter’s expectations, his vote bank got shrunk from leader of all to being just a Gujjar leader. After the failed attempt in exerting his strength, he has been reduced to a second-fiddle to CM Ashok Gehlot, whose stature is only on a rise in the eyes of Congress high command. This has not gone well among the voters who have felt cheated and are showing all signs of keeping strategic distance from Pilot’s camp.
Understanding the outreach of Pilot to the ‘Gujjars’
Recently, Jaipur was lightened with the Birthday celebration of Congress leader Sachin Pilot. The celebration eve was seen as a show of strength amid the chorus from his supporters to see him as the next CM of Rajasthan.
Amid the preparations for the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, senior leaders of the ruling Congress party along with the former deputy Chief Minister of the state, Sachin Pilot, are reaching out to the influential Gujjar community to which Pilot belongs.
There has been an attempt by the supporters of Sachin Pilot to remind the Gujjars how Pilots have contributed to their development. Viratnagar MLA, Indraj Gurjar said, “If somebody put our community on the map, it was late Rajesh Pilot. Our young leader Sachin Pilot is following his father’s footsteps. ” He further compared Pilot with god by saying, “After Lord Devnarayan, who is our deity, if this community worships anyone, that person is Rajesh Pilot.”
Pilot camp is now busy mobilising the Gujjar support base. This may be in regard with Pilot projecting himself as the face of Congress for 2023.
The shrinking popularity of Sachin Pilot
The Gujjar community of Rajasthan holds a considerable share of voters. The community comprises around 7 to 8 per cent of the state’s population, which makes it play a decisive role in around 50 Assembly and 7 Lok Sabha constituencies, as said by a BJP Gujjar leader.
Evidently, Sachin Pilot is a highly popular politician in the state, especially among the two dominant castes- Gujjar community (to which he belongs) and Meenas. As reported by TFI, he is known for cooling down the enmity between the two castes. He bridged the differences between the two communities and brought them into the fold of Congress. That 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.
Apart from this, being a liked leader of Congress, Pilot had a hold over almost the entire vote bank of Rajasthan. His supporters called him “chattis kaum ka Neta” which means representative of all communities. However, he failed to withstand the people who trusted him and expected him to be the Chief Minister of Rajasthan. And now his supporters are trying to woo the Gurjars, with attempts to make the community rally behind Pilot. But, why is it so that the leader of all communities, who led Congress to the grand victory in 2018, is now eyeing one particular community instead of the entire state.
With all this happening and looking at the anti-incumbency against Ashok Gehlot, this time it would not be a cake walk for Congress.
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