Congress Leaders Deliberate on Pilot vs Gehlot Tussle, Focus on Poll Strategy
Top leaders of the Congress party, including Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, engaged in a crucial meeting on Thursday with Rajasthan party leaders. The meeting aimed to discuss the party’s strategy and preparedness for the upcoming polls while also seeking to resolve the ongoing tussle between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his political rival Sachin Pilot.
This significant meeting took place amidst the backdrop of the NCP coup in Maharashtra, adding to its importance as a potential turning point in resolving the rivalry between Gehlot and Pilot.
During the deliberations, Ashok Gehlot emphasized the government’s commitment to implementing Rahul Gandhi’s directives, whether it be addressing inflation or combating communal forces. Gehlot stressed the importance of a robust organization alongside well-thought-out plans for the formation of a successful government.
All eyes were on Pilot during the meeting, considering his previous rebellion against the Gehlot government over corruption cases that occurred during the previous BJP government’s tenure.
To the relief of party members, both Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot agreed to contest the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly elections together under collective leadership.
Expressing his views after the Congress strategy meet, Sachin Pilot stated, “We discussed all issues with an open mind, and everyone expressed confidence in repeating the government in Rajasthan.” He further mentioned the meaningful discussions held on how to defy the trend of voting out the incumbent government in the state.
Pilot also raised concerns about corruption during the previous BJP government, leaked papers, and the need for reform in the Rajasthan Public Service Commission, expressing satisfaction that the All India Congress Committee (AICC) took note of these issues. Sources indicate that the party may assign Pilot a significant organizational responsibility ahead of the elections.
Rahul Gandhi, addressing the meeting, expressed his belief that the BJP could be defeated if the Congress contested the election unitedly, assuring his support whenever needed.
The meeting witnessed the presence of several key figures, including Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chief Rahul Gandhi, AICC General Secretary Organization K C Venugopal, AICC in-charge of the state Sukhjinder Randhawa, state unit chief Govind Singh Dotasra, Sachin Pilot, and other senior leaders from Rajasthan. Chief Minister Gehlot, recovering from fractures in both his toes, attended the meeting via video conferencing.
Rajasthan, a swing state, has gained significant attention as the Congress aims to break the revolving door trend of the incumbent party being voted out of power. The Gehlot-Pilot tussle further complicates matters for the party in the upcoming assembly polls.
The power struggle between Gehlot and Pilot has been a longstanding issue for the Congress since the party formed the government in Rajasthan in 2018. In 2020, Pilot led a revolt against the Gehlot government, resulting in his removal from the positions of state unit president and deputy chief minister. Previous attempts by the party high command to effect a leadership change in Rajasthan had failed due to staunch resistance from Gehlot loyalists. Recently, Pilot defied party warnings and conducted a day-long fast, criticizing Gehlot’s alleged inaction on corruption during the previous Raje government.
The outcome of this meeting and the united front projected by Gehlot and Pilot will play a significant role in shaping the Congress’s prospects in the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly elections.