PILOT GROUNDED

It would now turn out that the ‘rebellion’ in the Rajasthan Congress party that took the Ashok Gehlot-led ministry to the brink was nothing more than a storm in a tea cup. This, on the premise that the BJP’s no-confidence motion on Friday would fail. If it garners enough numbers in the 200-member state assembly to unseat the ministry, the story would be altogether different. However, considering the strength of various groups in the assembly, Gehlot is likely to have the last laugh, and the no-trust move is merely a formality.

The Congress leadership has reasons for relief. Sachin Pilot who along with18 other legislators led the rebellion against Gehlot, and by extension embarrassed the Congress party, obviously found the going tough. The fact of the matter is that his expectations that more Congress MLAs would side with him has been belied. What this proves is that Pilot, who held the deputy CM post, has no locus standi to seek the CM’s post. Had he managed to get a larger share of the Congress MLAs to his side, he would have been a game changer.

In the present context, Pilot has proven that he is not a serious player. What offer Rahul Gandhi gave him by way of a patch-up and continuation of the young leader in the Congress is unclear. For now, Pilot would not get what he wanted. Having proven his relatively low esteem among the party legislators vis-a-vis Gehlot, There is nothing to show that Pilot will have the last laugh. Gehlot is a veteran of many a battle. He came up in politics the hard way, fighting his way up inch by inch. Pilot was a plant; the Congress giving him a leadership role in the party on a platter after his father Rajesh Pilot’s demise. The BC tag kept the father and son on a high political pedestal.

Gehlot too claims BC support. It would appear that Gehlot played his cards to perfection after Pilot rebelled against the government openly. The two were not on talking terms for a while, even as though they were colleagues in the Congress-led government.

The way the Congress managed to effect a turnaround in Rajasthan by winning back Pilot will restore some credibility to the present Congress leadership at the top level – meaning a mix of Sonia Gandhi and her son and daughter. The script did not progress the way the Opposition BJP in the state wanted it to. But, the last word will be known only after the no-trust motion. Till then, the suspense continues.

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