New Delhi: Congress leader Sachin Pilot was sacked on Tuesday (July 14) from the post of Rajasthan deputy chief minister and state Congress chief by his party, as he raised the banner of revolt against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot along with MLAs loyal to him. In this political battle with Gehlot, Pilot lost all that he had achieved in the last 6-7 years through his hard work. The DNA analysis today tries to explain how the loyalty factor played a key role in Rajasthan’s latest political drama.
In politics, everything revolves around power and there is no right or wrong. Loyalty is greater than any ability. Ashok Gehlot maintained his loyalty to the Gandhi family and was saved him today as he was earlier rewarded. On the contrary, Sachin Pilot’s wings were clipped. He has not been removed from the party, but his ouster in coming days may not surprise us.
The strict action against Sachin Pilot is because of two things: firstly, the Congress leadership appears to have confidence in Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot that he will somehow save his government while assessing that despite the revolt, Sachin Pilot may not be able to destabilise the Gehlot government, even if he joins hands with the BJP.
Secondly, Congress might have thought that if Sachin Pilot’s demands are accepted in his fight against a senior leader like Ashok Gehlot, then young leaders in the party will manipulate in the coming days. Such leaders may emerge in other states too and make the Congress leadership redundant.
Although the Congress is claiming that Sachin Pilot became an MP at the age of 26, was given a ministerial position at the centre at 32, and was made the state president of Rajasthan at 40, along with the post of Deputy Chief Minister, Pilot wandered off and got involved in the BJP’s conspiracy to topple the state government.
In a way, Congress has now closed its doors for Sachin Pilot. It, however, claimed that the party’s central leadership tried to talk to Sachin Pilot, at least six times, but he did not agree. In the second meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Jaipur on Tuesday, Sachin Pilot and his supporters did not turn up.
Congress said that Pilot was given a second chance to attend the CLP meeting but he did not, therefore, the party decided to to take action against him. The Congress today announced action against Sachin Pilot and those close to him and appointed the new state president of Rajasthan.
After being removed from the post of Deputy Chief Minister and the state president, Sachin Pilot merely said that truth can be disturbed but not defeated, indicating perhaps that he is ready to wage a lone battle as he has no chance of defeating Ashok Gehlot by staying in the party.
Sachin Pilot has so far not said anything in front of the camera, but it is being said that he can hold a press conference on Wednesday to indicate his future plan. This is very clear that he would not accept the leadership of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan. He should either put all his strength in toppling the Gehlot government or wait for the opportune moment.
Ashok Gehlot may appear in a weak position now, but it is not easy to topple his government. In 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, 101 MLAs are needed to save the government, and Ashok Gehlot’s camp claims that the majority figure is in their favour. Till now, Ashok Gehlot’s government was running with the support of 123 MLAs, including 107 Congress MLAs, 2 MLAs from the Tribal Party of India, one MLA from the RLD and 13 independents.
Out of 123 MLAs, Gehlot is now left with only 101 MLAs while the remaining 22 MLAs are stated to tilted in the favour of Sachin Pilot. The BJP and their allies, however, have 75 MLAs. The Ashok Gehlot is not facing a threat that the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh was facing after Jyotiraditya Scindhia left the party and toppled the Kamal Nath government.
Political scientists opine that this fight within the Congress is a fight between senior leaders and young leaders, but the reality lies somewhere else. After losing the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had resigned as the party chief and there was a lot of drama after that. Most leaders requested Rahul Gandhi to withdraw his resignation, and some of them even resigned from the party posts in his support, but Rahul Gandhi remained adamant.
A young Congress leader from Maharashtra, Milind Deora, suggested the names of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot to Rahul Gandhi and said that these youth leaders have the capacity to hold the party’s top post, but that led to the commencement of countdown against Scindia and Pilot as well as the leader from Maharashtra.
First, Jyotiraditya Scindia was forced to leave the party, then came the turn of Sachin Pilot and Milind Deora has already been marginalised in the party, while they were once considered close to Rahul Gandhi. Leaders who were considered close to Rahul Gandhi were sidelined one by one or forced to compromise with senior Congress leaders who are known to be close to Sonia Gandhi, who is currently the party’s interim president till the Congress gets a new head.
The confrontation between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot is not just a fight for power in Rajasthan, rather, it was a fight within the Congress for the past one year. Many Congress leaders have expressed sympathy with Sachin Pilot, and they also expressed sorrow on this whole issue besides cautioning the party. These leaders include Jitin Prasad, Priya Dutt, Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shashi Tharoor.
Leaders like Jitin Prasad and Priya Dutt have openly supported Sachin Pilot as no one can deny the hard work that he has done for the party. And there is nothing wrong in being ambitious, but who will ask the Congress leadership why young leaders are being sidelined.
In the given situation, options before Sachin Pilot are either to join the BJP or to form a regional party. However, it would not be easy for Sachin Pilot to take this decision. He hails from the Gurjar community from Ghaziabad, not from Rajasthan, where Gujjar vote bank accounts for about 5 per cent.
The politics of Rajasthan, however, depends upon Jat vote bank which comprises about 10 per cent. The path will not be easy for Sachin Pilot as he has to feel the pulse of Rajasthan and become the leader of farmers. He is also not capable of bringing down the government like Jyotiraditya Scindia, hence lacks the bargaining power.