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Jaipur: As the elections are coming closer in Rajasthan, the political fervor is increasing there. The fight for power in the state took place more within the Congress than between the BJP and the Congress. In these four years, there were many such occasions, due to which it seemed that now the departure of the Gehlot government is certain, but it did not happen. The BJP and its leaders did not oppose Ashok Gehlot as much as his/her own deputy Sachin Pilot did. Although Pilot made many bets against Gehlot, but now he/she has probably made his/her last bet. Now Sachin Pilot is openly opposing the Chief Minister of his/her own party and his/her government.
In the same sequence, on April 11, he/she along with his/her supporters sat on a one-day hunger strike against his/her own government at the Martyr’s Memorial in Jaipur, demanding an inquiry into the allegations of alleged corruption by former BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia. The result of this was that he/she was called to Delhi and it is believed that the high command may take a major decision on Wednesday, 12 April. However, this fast of Sachin Pilot was termed as anti-party activity by the party’s state in-charge Sukhwinder Singh Randhawa and asked him/her to hold talks on the party forum.
Gehlot vs Pilot: An old history
It is not that the swords have been drawn for the first time between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan. Even before this, there have been estrangements between the two and both the leaders have been speaking against each other in public forums as well. It is not that this enmity between these two leaders is new. Even before this, the relationship between Sachin Pilot’s father, former Union Minister Rajesh Pilot and Ashok Gehlot has also remained bitter like a neem leaf. The enmity between these two also starts from there. During the Lok Sabha elections in 1980, where Ashok Gehlot reaches Delhi after contesting from Jodhpur, Rajesh Pilot also reaches Lok Sabha after winning the election from Bharatpur. Both the leaders are close to the Congress high command, but after the death of Rajiv Gandhi in the 1990s, Rajesh Pilot’s hold on the Congress is somewhat reduced.
Rajesh Pilot contests the presidential election against Sitaram Kesari.
In the year 1994, there is a Congress government at the center and PV Narasimha Rao is the Prime Minister. At that time Ashok Gehlot’s closeness with Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao gets flooded and he/she ignores Rajesh Pilot and makes Gehlot the President of Rajasthan Congress. This thing goes home in the heart of Rajesh Pilot but due to party discipline, he/she accepts this decision. In the year 1996, when the election for the post of National President in the Congress Party is held, the Gandhi family nominates Sitaram Keshari as their candidate. At the same time, Rajesh Pilot also claims the post of president. Somewhere this thing stings the Gandhi family, but due to party democracy, everyone ignores this decision.
During this, Ashok Gehlot openly opposes the candidature of Rajesh Pilot and Sitaram Keshari becomes the president after winning the election. This decision of Ashok Gehlot brings him/her closer to the Gandhi family and further away Rajesh Pilot, who was once called Rajiv Gandhi’s special. Ashok Gehlot gets the result of his/her decision to support Sitaram Kesari in 1998, when the Congress wins the elections in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot is made the Chief Minister for the first time. During this period also the Congress high command ignores Rajesh Pilot and since then his/her political life goes further downhill.
Pilot also supports Jitendra Prasad
After this, in 2000, when Sonia Gandhi contested for the post of Congress President, Jitendra Prasad decided to contest against her. Rajesh Pilot openly comes in his/her support. But Ashok Gehlot supports Sonia Gandhi in contrast to him/her and Sonia Gandhi wins this election by a huge margin and after that Rajesh Pilot’s political life gets marginalised. Meanwhile, on 11 June 2000, Rajesh Pilot dies in a road accident and the fight between Gehlot vs Pilot stops for some time. Everyone thought that the fight between the two strong pillars of Rajasthan Congress might have settled down forever but no one knew that it was just the calm before the storm.
The war had cooled down after the death of Rajesh Pilot
After the death of Rajesh Pilot, the Gehlot vs Pilot fight went cold for many years. In 2002, Rajesh Pilot’s son Sachin Pilot steps into politics and takes membership of the Congress party. This was the time when the Congress was finding itself on its feet again and the rise of Rahul Gandhi in the party. During this, Sachin Pilot joins the people close to Rahul Gandhi. The party makes him/her contest the Lok Sabha elections from Ajmer in 2009 and he/she reaches the Lok Sabha after winning. After this, in the year 2012, he/she was made the Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology in the Manmohan Singh government.
Here, Ashok Gehlot becomes the Chief Minister of Rajasthan for the second time in 2008, but in 2013, Congress suffers a bad defeat in Rajasthan and the party wins only 21 seats out of total 200 seats in the assembly. After this, good days come in Sachin Pilot’s Rajasthan Congress. Bypassing Ashok Gehlot, the Congress high command gives a chance to Sachin Pilot. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress faces a bad defeat in the whole country including Rajasthan. In Rajasthan, the Congress party fails to win even a single Lok Sabha seat, and just after that the years-long tussle between the Gehlot and Pilot families takes a new turn. Both the leaders blame each other for the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and in the meantime Ashok Gehlot was called to Delhi in the year 2017. After this, it seems that now Sachin Pilot’s tuti will speak in Rajasthan Congress.
The war intensified after the 2018 elections
In the year 2018, assembly elections were again held in Rajasthan. The party nominated Sachin Pilot, who was also the head of the state Congress. he/she was given a free hand. Sachin Pilot fiercely attacked Vasundhara Raje’s government and created an atmosphere in favor of the Congress by roaming around the entire state. Sachin Pilot did well in ticket distribution as well. The result was that the Congress won Rajasthan by a huge margin and managed to win 100 seats for the first time. When it came to making the Chief Minister in Rajasthan, the Delhi High Command appointed Ashok Gehlot as the Chief Minister. After this decision of the High Command, the battle of Shant Pilot vs Gehlot started ringing for almost 2 decades. Although the party made Sachin Pilot the deputy CM and state chief to keep the atmosphere under control, but the poor performance of the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections also gave a big blow to Sachin Pilot’s image.
Along with the patient, the political temperature of Rajasthan increased during the Corona period.
On July 13, 2020, when the whole country was lying cold due to Corona, the Rajasthan Congress suddenly increased the temperature. Sachin Pilot took about one and a half dozen MLAs with him/her and reached a hotel in Manesar, Haryana. In this development, it seemed that Ashok Gehlot’s government would fall, because a few months earlier, a similar incident had happened in Madhya Pradesh and the Congress had to lose its government. Where on one hand Sachin Pilot was in Manesar with some MLAs, Ashok Gehlot also started fencing all the remaining MLAs. Both the camps were locked in the hotel with their MLAs. Along with this, the BJP attacked the Gehlot government and started pressurizing it to prove its majority.
Meanwhile, the Congress high command, taking immediate action, called Sachin Pilot to meet and intensified all efforts to convince Sachin Pilot. During this, the gathering of all the leaders of Rajasthan started in Delhi. Even after all the efforts, when Sachin Pilot did not agree, then two ministers along with him/her were dismissed after the orders of the High Command. Meanwhile, after the intervention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Sachin Pilot was persuaded with some conditions. Due to this, the political crisis in Rajasthan was averted for some time. But in this Sachin Pilot had to lose the post of his/her deputy CM and Congress state president.
The solution could have come out last year, but…
After this, Sonia Gandhi wanted to nominate Ashok Gehlot as the candidate for the post of Congress President in the elections held last year. It would have two advantages. First, Gehlot was very close and faithful to the Gandhi family, so the Gandhi family did not have much difficulty in running the party. Second, by making Sachin Pilot the Chief Minister in Rajasthan, the problem of Rajasthan would have been ended from the root. But before this could happen, there was a ruckus in Rajasthan. 90 MLAs of the Ashok Gehlot faction submitted their resignation letters to the Speaker of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, CP Joshi. The rebel MLAs demanded that if Ashok Gehlat was removed from the post of Chief Minister, then an MLA from his/her own group should be made the Chief Minister. They do not accept the leadership of Sachin Pilot. Seeing this matter gaining momentum, the Congress high command allowed Ashok Gehlot to continue as the Chief Minister. Here Sachin Pilot’s irritability was increasing and the result was that just before the elections, Sachin Pilot has again adopted a rebellious tone and is besieging his/her party’s government on various issues.
Now the knowledge of what decision Sachin Pilot takes is only in the lap of the womb, but knowingly it is being told that if the Congress high command does not give Sachin Pilot a decision as per his/her wish, then he/she may also announce to leave the Congress. The fast in Jaipur was only and only an excuse for the party high command to show its power. he/she is trying to tell that if the party ignores him/her, he/she can also part ways.
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