After a lull for a couple of days, there has been a movement in Rajasthan politics. While the fate of Chief minister Ashok Gehlot is yet to be finalised, the brief break gave an indication that he might not pay the price for not being able to impress upon his supporters to toe the party line.
However, a new conjecture emerged on Tuesday following Gehlot’s arch-rival Sachin Pilot’s meeting with a key cabinet minister and his former ally, Pratap Singh Khachariyawas. According to the original plan of Congress, while Gehlot will contest for the post of party national president, Pilot will take over as the chief minister of the state.
However, everything fell apart after Gehlot’s supporters refused to acknowledge Pilot as their leader. Their grudge: Pilot had earlier attempted to topple the Gehlot government. While that created a lot of heartburn, it perhaps hurt Gehlot the most as he had to make way for veteran Mallikarjun Kharge to contest for the Congress top post against senior party leader Shashi Tharoor.
The latest development also hinted that Gehlot not only missed a chance to lead the party’s revival of fortune but might also lose the chair he coveted the most.
Khachariyawas met Pilot late on Monday evening. On Tuesday, he met CM Gehlot at his office. The meeting once again reignited the thought that Rajasthan will once again witness some kind of action.
“Why is everyone surprised? Sachin Pilot and I are always on good terms. In the state assembly, we sit on the same bench and talk to each other. He came to meet me at my home, and we talked about everything in detail. But the important point of the meeting is not to be shared with anyone,” Khachariyawas said.
On the other hand, minister Rajendra Gudha, who belongs to the Pilot camp, has also changed his tone. For the past several days, he has been making aggressive statements against Khachariyawas. He even compared Khachariyawas to Gabbar Singh and Amrish Puri. But after the meeting of Pilot and Khachariyawas last night, Gudha started calling Khachariyawas a friendly person and praised him.
Last week, Khachariyawas held a press conference at his residence in Jaipur in which he repeated his statement that they are not against Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and the party’s high command.
But Khachariyawas made it clear that in 2020, when some people rebelled against the Congress government and tried to topple it, it was the 102 MLAs who saved it. He argued how one could justify it if the party picked one of the rebels of 2020 as the next CM in the state. He further stated that if anyone, other than 102 MLAs, becomes a CM, then the position of those MLAs who saved the government will be in trouble.
But Pilot’s latest overtures suggest that he is trying his best to woo the MLAs as opposed to him – indicating the party might be looking at some changes, if not immediately, then in the near future.