Following a resounding electoral triumph in Karnataka, the Congress leadership is gearing up to take action in Rajasthan amidst a fierce and unrelenting rivalry between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.
Despite the 1,921-kilometre distance between Jaipur and Bengaluru, the political significance of the Karnataka Assembly election results on May 13th is expected to have a rapid and widespread impact.
Following a resounding electoral triumph, the Congress leadership is poised to take action in Rajasthan, where the intense and unrestrained competition between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot has rendered the party high command powerless and unable to intervene.
On September 25, 2022, at Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot displayed an uncharacteristic defiance by refusing to accept the Congress party’s presidency, despite 12 sets of nominations being prepared for him. It is possible that Gehlot may be regretting his decision and cursing himself for it, deep down. In a stunning turn of events, after a span of eight months, Gehlot now finds himself at the mercy of Kharge, who is currently reveling in his moment of glory and triumph.
According to sources, Mallikarjun Kharge, the AICC chief, enjoys the complete support of the Gandhi family, including Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka. It is reported that Kharge intends to call for a meeting with both Gehlot and Pilot, where he will request their proposals and approval of a plan for the Rajasthan Assembly elections in December 2023. According to an in-house assessment conducted by Congress, the party’s prospects in the upcoming Assembly polls appear to be quite bleak.
According to sources, Kharge, who had assigned the task of speaking to Sachin Pilot to senior leaders Kamal Nath and KC Venugopal two weeks ago, is believed to have devised a strategy to resolve the ongoing political deadlock in Rajasthan. In a significant move, the Congress party has drafted Sachin Pilot into the AICC secretariat as a party general secretary and granted him a berth in the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
This development marks the first part of the party’s plan. According to reports, the pilot is said to be hesitant to accept the offer due to his nearly nine-year tenure in Rajasthan.
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In a move that could potentially cause tension within the political landscape of Rajasthan, Kharge has proposed a Plan B that may not sit well with Chief Minister Gehlot. The plan involves granting the state president’s post to a young leader, which could be seen as a bitter pill to swallow for Gehlot. According to sources with knowledge of the matter, Pilot is reportedly open to the idea.
The Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) would have a significant role in determining the distribution of tickets, among other factors. According to sources, Pilot Camp is reportedly seeking to negotiate for a few portfolios within the Gehlot cabinet.
Kharge’s alternate plan is expected to encounter significant opposition and rebellion from Gehlot, who has publicly labeled Pilot as a persona non grata and a “gaddar (traitor).”
In what could be a potential showdown, Gehlot’s inflexibility is expected to come to a head in May or possibly early June. According to sources close to the matter, there are hopes within his camp that Pilot may establish a new political party around June 11, which coincides with the anniversary of his late father Rajesh Pilot’s passing.
According to sources close to Pilot, the Major in the Territorial Army denies taking any drastic action. The sources point out that Pilot is still confident in the Gandhis and Kharge fulfilling their promise to bring “justice” in Rajasthan.
In a recent announcement, Sachin Pilot declared the commencement of the ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’ and stated that Vasundhara Raje is the leader of Ashok Gehlot, contradicting the notion that Sonia Gandhi holds this position.
According to sources close to Kharge, the Congress president is prioritizing the enforcement of discipline and expects Gehlot and Pilot to adopt a “Congress first” motto, which implies a submissive acceptance of any directives given by Kharge. Kharge expresses confidence that he will receive full authority and support from Sonia, Rahul, and Priyanka to carry out actions intended for Rajasthan.
With a recent display of assertiveness and resistance, Gehlot appears confident in his ability to remain as the chief minister until the end of the year, specifically November or December. The individual, previously identified as a magician and rumored to have severed ties with 10, Janpath, appears to be cautious about reaching a resolution with Pilot.
Kharge faces a challenging task that could potentially tarnish the successes achieved in Bengaluru. However, the seasoned veteran exudes unwavering confidence in his ability to overcome it effortlessly.