The simmering tension between Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot reached a tipping point when the latter gotsummoned by his state policeon July 10 for an investigation into a plot for destabilising the government.
It underlined, according to a senior Congress leader, the deep distrust of Rajasthan CM towards his able deputy chief minister and a bid to marginalize Pilot in the party and in the government that was formed in 2018. Although a similar notice was sent to Gehlot, asking him to record his statement, but a Pilot loyalist said that the deputy chief minister felt the probe is set to target him.
A similar notice was sent to Gehlot but pilot loyalists said that the deputy chief minister felt he was thetarget of the probe.
There were several bids to undercut Pilot in the past two years. But the Congress central leadership chose to ignore the warning signals. Finally, the party formed a coordination committee for Rajasthan in January this year but that panel so far has held just one meeting.
The Congress’ inability to nip problems at the bud was aptly expressed by Kapil Sibal. As news of Sachin Pilot screamed headlines, Sibal tweeted, “Worried for our party… Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables ?” Just four months ago, the Congress lost its government in Madhya Pradesh in a similar script: party veterans sidelining Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Worried for our party
Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables ?
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal)July 12, 2020
To be sure, the start of the new Congress government in the desert state was not exactly a smooth affair. Pilot, who left his family in Delhi to sweat it out, led the Congress campaign as the president of the party to victory, but Gehlot outstepped him to become the chief minister, primarily weighing on caste equations.
Party insiders added that for the past few months, the Gehlot camp has been demanding a change of guard in the Rajasthan Congress in a bid to remove Pilot from the state president’s post. They have started lobbying with Congress functionaries in Delhi that a new state chief is required (Pilot is holding the position for 6 years) before the ensuing panchayat election in the state.
Even as then Congress president Rahul Gandhi met the two leaders over several rounds to hammer out a solution, the uneasy equation between the Congress’ old generation and the ne