The infighting in Rajasthan Congress was more than evident during the two-day visit of Rahul Gandhi in the state. Neither Ashok Gehlot camp nor Sachin Pilot camp made any attempt to hide it.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot was not allowed to speak in two of the four public meetings during the visit of Rahul Gandhi. The defacto Congress president was on two-day visit to Rajasthan last week for participating in Kisan Mahapanchayats. The visit concluded Saturday.
In the Kisan Mahapanchayat in Roopangarh, Pilot was asked to get off the dais. It is all the more important considering Pilot was Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from 2009-14 from Ajmer, the district where Roopangarh is located. The insult didn’t stop there. Pilot’s vehicles were stopped from joining Rahul’s cavalcade.
The fight between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot had started soon after the 2018 assembly election of Rajasthan.
Congress had won 100 seats in the 200-member assembly. After it became clear Congress will form the government in the state, both the leaders staked claim to the chief ministership. The senior leadership of the party in Delhi intervened and a compromise was reached. Gehlot became the chief minister and Pilot deputy chief minister. Pilot also got the presidentship of the state congress. Some of Pilot’s loyalists were also inducted in the state cabinet.
But things did not remain calm for too long.
Citing his negligence by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Pilot revolted against the party in July 2020. When negotiations did not reach a conclusion, Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and president of the state congress. Pilot’s loyalists, Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena, were also sacked. But, seeing a threat to his government, Gehlot knocked on the door of the Nehru family.
Priyanka Vadra intervened and pacified Pilot.
Sensing an opportunity to strengthen his position in the party, Pilot started organising Kisan Mahapanchayats in Rajasthan. The stated aim is to highlight the shortcomings of the just-passed progressive farm laws by the union government.
But, the political observers believe Pilot is taking on the Gehlot camp through these Mahapanchayats.
All eyes are now on the next Sachin Pilot’s Kisan Mahapanchayat on February 17.