A-shock Value or Pilot’s Take-Off: Congress Lands in Tight Spot as Bharat Jodo Fails to Calm Raj Storm


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Last Updated: January 15, 2023, 21:12 IST

Sachin Pilot (left) and Ashok Gehlot. (File photo: PTI)

The Congress is worried that an angry Gehlot could damage the party during polls. But to negate Pilot would be backtracking on an assurance given by the Gandhis to Pilot that his time would come

Peace has not returned to the Rajasthan Congress despite a show of unity between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot at the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Both the camps are to have a show of strength on the same day. CM Gehlot is holding a ‘chintan shivir’ of sorts with his cabinet colleagues to take stock of the work done by his government. The eye is clearly not just on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but more at the central leadership to tell them that he has a grip over his government and that his supporters within the government would never accept any change of guard.

With time running out, Pilot is unwilling to let go of his chance to show his strength either. So on the same day, when Gehlot will be flexing his muscle, Pilot will tour key constituencies, which are primarily in Jat-dominated belts, beginning with Nagaur. Called Kisan Mahasammelan, Pilot will tell the central leadership with numbers that he is not a leader who can be ignored anymore. At the same time, his strategy is to ensure that it doesn’t look like a rebellion, as Gehlot would pounce on him, accusing him of dividing the party to the advantage of the BJP.

Back in Delhi, it’s a decision the central leadership is dreading to make. Gehlot cannot be ignored as he has stood up to the central leadership earlier too, as seen during the presidential polls. The Congress is worried that an angry Gehlot could damage the party during polls. But to negate Pilot would be backtracking on an assurance given by the Gandhis to Pilot that his time would come.

Plus, in 2024, with the BJP clearly eyeing a younger nation, Pilot being overlooked would give the perception that Congress doesn’t want to take any risk and look young.

So what’s the party planning to do? Chances are that no CM face would be declared for the 2023 state polls. Also, Pilot could be made head of the campaign committee which means he would shape the polls.

As Jairam Ramesh recently said: “We will take a decision which good for the organization.”

This doesn’t indicate much. But it is clear that the Bharat Jodo Yatra has not managed to jodo the warring leaders in the desert state. The storm is far from over.

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