The scuffle between Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot has brought about some cliche in Congress infighting. The latest updates wherein Sachin Pilot was removed from the post of Deputy Chief Minister highlighted a new twist in the Rajasthan politics as well as the Congress party as a whole.
The pandemic and lockdown has affected not only the economy of the nation but also has seen a major political crisis amidst it. As the lockdown has forced all the parties to halt their political activities temporarily, it is unlikely that an external trigger could have paved the way for such a hit for Congress.
Pilot has been unhappy since the Congress picked Ashok Gehlot as the chief minister after 2018 assembly polls, while his supporters insisted that he deserved credit for the party’s victory as its state unit president.
From opposing Gehlot’s–controversial decision to allow individuals who had not been directly elected by the people to contest mayoral polls saying that the Government did not showcase achievements under his Ministry during the one-year celebration; to the allocation of portfolio to Vaibhav (Gehlot son) in the Lok Sabha elections; and to strongly pointing out the incapability of Gehlot in handling the death of infants at a Kota hospital–Pilot has always been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the way Gehlot was playing the politics.
Indeed, the political unrest inside the Congress has been brought to limelight yet again. Four months ago, when JyotiradityaScindia exit and brought the BJP back to power in Bhopal things started to show a downturn for Congress Party.
Though the move by the two leaders can’t be viewed from the same perspective as in the case of Scindia, he was sure to join the BJP, and Pilot has made it clear that he is still a member of Congress party and is not joining the BJP. However, if Congress doesn’t make some significant decision soon, the nation will witness the collapse of India’s oldest party.
Certainly, Pilot had worked hard for his former post and was always ready to take up challenges when thrown towards him. So, giving up on such a position for which he showed great hunger and ambition can only be taken as a calmness before a blow.
It seems that Gehlot’s political game against the younger leader went a little too far, making the Pilot and his 16 MLA’s to leave the cabinet. On Tuesday, as Pilot skipped the second crucial meeting called in a span of two days by the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) to discuss the political crisis of the state made the situation notable.
After the meeting, Gehlot announced that Pilot is officially removed from his post. However, soon after he was sacked, Pilot changed his Twitter bio stating “Truth can be rattled, not defeated,” seemed more like he was all set to face the consequence.
सत्य को परेशान किया जा सकता है पराजित नहीं।
— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) July 14, 2020
Nevertheless, things didn’t stop there as in an unprecedented outburst, several senior Congress leaders have aired their regrets over the rebellion by Pilot. Digvijay Singh slashed Pilot and said:” there are so many people who are climbing up the political stairs so soon and the kind of behaviour that Sachin Pilot has done is against the policies of the Congress Party. These youngsters are not patient; politics requires patience. A person progresses with patience.”
On the one hand, Congress is grappling with the revolt by Pilot – who was sacked both as deputy CM and Rajasthan party president on Tuesday – and several MLAs owing allegiance to him. On the other hand, it may have to launch a damage control exercise in the wake of unrest among the senior party leaders.
The leaders, cutting across states and regions, have expressed displeasure with the developments and have generally asked the leadership to take corrective measures well in time to save the party.
Worried for our party
Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables ?
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) July 12, 2020
Sachin Pilot is not just a collegues but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this…
— Jitin Prasada जितिन प्रसाद (@JitinPrasada) July 14, 2020
Time for sobriety, restraint & balance in all quarters. #Rajasthan, apart frm my home state, is jewel of #Cong crown. Nothing qua #Cong #Gehlot #Pilot not solvable across table. #BJP stop fishing in troubled waters.
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) July 12, 2020
For five years Sachin Pilot gave his blood , tears, toil and sweat for the Congress party between 2013-18. The Congress came back from a wretched 21 seats to 100.
We just gave him a performance bonus. We are so meritocratic. We are so transparent.
— Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) July 14, 2020
Soon after the tweet, Sanjay Jha had to pay the price, as he got suspended from the Congress with immediate effect for indulging allegedly in anti-party activities.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Pilot affirmed that he has no plans to leave the Congress party and join BJP. He asserted that the speculation about his switching sides was being fuelled by certain leaders in Rajasthan to tarnish his image.
On Wednesday Gehlot taking the opportunity talked tough, accusing Pilot of being directly involved in the alleged horse-trading with the opposition BJP to bring down his government.
To which Former Rajasthan minister Ramesh Meena hit back at Gehlot’s asking him how much money was paid to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs who switched over to the Congress in his previous tenure.
On Thursday Pilot and other rebel MLAs moved Rajasthan High Court, challenging the Assembly Speaker’s disqualification notice; however, Court deferred the hearing.
Pilot receiving overwhelming support from his colleagues in the Congress shows his popularity among fellow leaders. It’s also a reflection of the sad state of affairs in the Congress party. Perhaps it is time for the Congress leadership to give a serious thought to the internal dynamics.
The coming days will only witness much more dramatic side of politics as Pilot seems to be all geared up to take upon the Rajasthan Government.