Sachin Pilot’s gambit in Rajasthan fails
Stripped of his cabinet position and presidency of the state unit, all eyes are on the young Congressman in anticipation of his next move.
After Sachin Pilot and his MLAs failed to attend the second consecutive Congress Legislative Party meeting on Tuesday, it was decided to remove him from the post of Deputy Chief Minister and also the President of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot drove to Raj Bhavan to make a formal request to the governor to drop Pilot and two other rebel ministers from the cabinet.
The feud between Pilot and Gehlot seemed to have boiled over when Pilot was reportedly asked to submit to questioning in an investigation into an alleged attempt to destabilise the government before the Rajya Sabha elections last month. Over the weekend, Pilot went to Delhi with a dozen MLAs to meet party high command but, by all accounts, things didn’t go as he had wanted.
My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today.— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) July 14, 2020
राम राम सा !
Party insiders say that the demands he was making were completely unacceptable to the high command. He reportedly asked that he be publicly declared the chief ministerial candidate for the next state election, scheduled for 2022. He also demanded that the rebel MLAs be accommodated and that the current general secretary and Rajasthan Congress in-charge be removed from his post because he was biased towards Gehlot.
The high command had been trying its best to mediate with Pilot over the past couple of days. Though Rahul Gandhi hadn’t seemed to have spoken to him, Priyanka Gandhi did, according to reports. He skipped the first CLP meeting on Monday and showed no signs of relenting even until 10.30 am on Tuesday. After this, the second meeting was held where a resolution was passed against him by the 104 MLAs present.
There is speculation that Pilot has been in talks with the BJP since before the pandemic and the party has promised him outside support if he could sway 30 MLAs, thus pulling the rug off the current Congress government. Pilot was quoted by his aide saying that he had never said or done anything against the party in his life and all he wanted was the acknowledgement and righting of the humiliation he had been put through by Gehlot. Police personnel across the state have been alerted to maintain the law and order amid the unfolding political crisis in the state, to stave off any protests or violence by Pilot’s supporters. The BJP hasn’t publicly played its hand yet, though it has dispatched some of its senior leaders to Rajasthan and has called for a floor test.