Former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, both the leaders, have been sent out of Rajasthan politics by the Congress high command. Now the effort to bring new people forward in Congress politics has started in Rajasthan. For a long time, Congress politics in Rajasthan was revolving around Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. Congress has suffered huge losses in Rajasthan due to the ongoing tussle between the two leaders. Due to the hospitality of both, Congress is out of power in Rajasthan.
In 2018, when Congress government was formed in Rajasthan and Ashok Gehlot was made the Chief Minister and Sachin Pilot was made the Deputy Chief Minister. Since then the tussle between Gehlot and Pilot had started. In Rajasthan, two separate groups of two big leaders were formed. Due to the tussle between the two leaders, the situation had worsened to such an extent that in 2020, Sachin Pilot rebelled against Ashok Gehlot and went to Gurgaon along with his supporting MLAs.
At that time, to save the government, Ashok Gehlot had to barricade the MLAs in hotels. After a mutual tussle that lasted for almost two months, peace was established between the two Congress leaders due to the efforts of the Congress high command. But Sachin Pilot had to lose the post of Deputy Chief Minister and State Congress President due to the rebellion. Many ministers supporting him were also removed from their posts. At that time Pilot had less number of MLAs. Because some of his own MLAs had given information about the rebellion being carried out by Pilot to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Chief Minister Gehlot had made Pilot politically weak by bringing many MLAs of the Pilot faction into his fold in time.
After the intervention of the high command, some MLAs supporting Pilot were again made ministers in the Gehlot government. But the pilot was not given any post. From Pilot’s rebellion till the assembly elections, Gehlot and Pilot had been continuously making statements against each other. In 2022, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had organized a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in Jaipur on 25 September 2022 to make Sachin Pilot the Chief Minister. In which Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken were sent as observers.
But Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Dharmendra Rathore of Ashok Gehlot group did not allow the meeting of the legislature party to be held. Dhariwal organized a parallel meeting of MLAs at his residence and got the legislature party meeting called by the Congress President boycotted. Due to which Sachin Pilot was prevented from becoming the Chief Minister. At the same time, Sonia Gandhi had also nominated Ashok Gehlot for the post of National President of Congress. But Gehlot had also refused to become the president due to fear of losing the post of Chief Minister.
The amount of loss that Rajasthan Congress has suffered in the mutual fight between Gehlot and Pilot. It seems difficult to compensate for that. Both the leaders have been sent out of state politics. Ashok Gehlot has been made a member of the National Alliance Committee. Which will discuss alliance with various parties during the Lok Sabha elections. Party general secretary Mukul Wasnik has been made the coordinator of this five-member committee. Whereas Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel, Salman Khurshid and Mohan Prakash have been made members in the committee. By becoming a member of the National Alliance Committee, Ashok Gehlot will become busy in national politics and will not have time left for state politics.
Similarly, Sachin Pilot has been made the national general secretary of Congress and made in-charge of Chhattisgarh. In the recently concluded assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Congress had to face its biggest defeat till date and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had to lose his post. Anyway, Congress has only two members of Lok Sabha in Chhattisgarh. In such a situation, being the state in-charge, Sachin Pilot will have to work hard in Chhattisgarh. After becoming in-charge of Chhattisgarh, Sachin Pilot will also be associated with the politics of Rajasthan. Most of his time will be spent outside Rajasthan.
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has relieved Punjab in-charge Harish Chaudhary. Harish Chaudhary, who won from Baytu area by only 910 votes, has also been a cabinet minister and MP in the Gehlot government. In such a situation, there is discussion that Harish Chaudhary can be made the new president of the state Congress. Presently Govind Singh Dotasara from Jat community is the state president of Congress. Whose removal is considered certain. Among the 69 newly elected Congress MLAs, the highest number are from Jat, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
In view of this, Harish Chaudhary can be appointed to the post of State President and Mahendrajit Singh Malvi from the tribal community can be appointed to the post of Legislative Party Leader. Mahendrajit Malviya is currently a member of the Congress Working Committee and is continuously winning the MLA election. He was also a cabinet minister in the Gehlot government. He is considered to have a good hold in the tribal area. Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, who was the MP from Alwar in Rajasthan, has also been retained as the National General Secretary of Congress.
Lok Sabha elections are to be held after the next 6 months. In the last two Lok Sabha elections, BJP has been winning all the 25 seats in the state. This time too, BJP leaders are claiming victory on all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state. With the formation of BJP government in the state, the morale of its workers has also increased. In such a situation, how much success Congress can achieve in the Lok Sabha elections will be known only after the coming elections.
But whoever becomes the new state president of Congress and leader of the legislative party, the biggest challenge before him will be to unite the Congress again and boost the morale of the party workers. How successful he will be in this will be known only later. For now, it remains to be seen how far the Congress high command will be able to weaken the Gehlot Pilot faction running in Rajasthan and promote leaders with undisputed image.
– Ramesh Saraf Dhamora
(The author is an independent journalist recognized by the Government of Rajasthan. His articles are published in many newspapers of the country.)