‘Gehlot has a single point agenda, and that is Pilot must not be made the CM’.
NEW DELHI: For several political analysts, a change in Congress’ Rajasthan leadership, by replacing Ashok Gehlot with Sachin Pilot, just six months before the Assembly elections, would nearly result in a Punjab-like electoral failure, and deeply divide the Congress in the state. They, therefore, don’t see an immediate change, thereby leaving no option for Pilot, but to wait.
It is believed that the high command does not want to touch the leadership issue in the state, but rather employ strategies to keep the cadre united until the upcoming Assembly elections. A prominent political analyst said, “Indian politics is changing every day, and Rajasthan politics is too difficult to predict. Anything is possible there.”
He added, “There is very little substance to say that Gehlot will be changed, because there is too little time left for the upcoming Assembly elections and a change could disturb the whole cadre. How will they fight the elections then? They ought to be united for the coming elections.”
Party leaders claim that Gehlot, who individually has influence on over 35 Assembly seats, can destroy any possibility for Congress to win on these seats if he is brought down hastily by replacing him with Pilot. A party insider said, “Gehlot has a single point agenda, and that is Pilot must not be made the CM. He cannot see that happen, nor will he let that happen.”
Yet, as there are significant changes coming in the organisation soon, it is believed the state president, after the formation of CWC, would get replaced. A party insider said, since the change in the leadership seems difficult, the party could be exploring different options for Sachin Pilot in the meanwhile. “He could be made the head of the campaign committee. He could also be made state president or maybe someone in his camp will be made the president. He could be told to work for the upcoming elections and then he could be the invariable CM face of the state for the next term,” the party insider said.
The reason for that is, as it is believed, Pilot can still wait as he knows if he has to become the CM of the state; it will only happen if he continues to be a part of Congress. A leader close to Pilot said, “I don’t know if he will still keep the party on boil till he becomes the CM. I don’t know if he will continue speaking against Gehlot. That has become a routine now and the high command has become immune to it. He has no option but to stay.”
Coming back to the diminishing role of Gehlot, it is to be noted that when Kharge went to Rajasthan as an observer along with Maken; his position as an observer was not welcomed by rebelling legislators led by Gehlot. It is believed that Kharge was insulted by that. And since then, a crack had developed between the relationship of Kharge and Gehlot, which is expected to manifest after the formation of Congress’ highest decision making body.
Besides that, leaders in the AICC suggest, the “magician”, as Gehlot is popularly known in political circles, will be allowed no magic inside the party or national politics of the party. Senior leaders in the party claim that he would have no role within the party in coming time. Moreover, sources said that knowing that all three Gandhis have a “sour relationship” with Gehlot, it is for sure that Pilot loyalists are disappointed with the Gandhis for not being able to remove him. Some believe, the integrity of the high command in the state will only be restored after a concrete decision is taken against Gehlot and his loyalists who rebelled in September 2022 and led an unofficial meeting against the high command.