The Congress's central leadership has scaled up efforts to find a solution in Rajasthan, with the negotiation shifting from the chief minister’s post to the balance of power between Ashok Gehlot and his challenger Sachin Pilot.
Sources said there had been several serious negotiations with Pilot over the last two days and the central leadership was working on a formula that ensures Gehlot doesn’t have a domineering role in the state even as he retains the chief minister’s post till the election. It is wrong to say that Pilot has made up his mind to quit the party as he is still expecting “justice” from the high command.
Contrary to speculation, Pilot hasn’t planned any public rally in Jaipur on June 11. Reports in a section of the media said he would announce his own regional party on June 11, which is his father Rajesh Pilot’s death anniversary. As usual, only a prayer meeting has been planned for June 11 in his home constituency Dausa and the Pilot camp is expecting a solution before that.
Sources say Pilot swears by his loyalty to the Gandhi family and insists that quitting the Congress can never be a desirable option for him. But one of his aides told The Telegraph: “Pilot has no post in the party but he has been campaigning for the Congress everywhere. But what has he got in return — false assurances, suspicion about his loyalty to the party and abuses from the chief minister. We all feel upset because the central leadership has not intervened effectively.”
At present, Gehlot not only has complete control over the government but also the party through his protégé Govind Singh Dotasra who is the state chief. Pilot supporters are treated like the enemy camp and there is no attempt by the chief minister to reconcile with the dissenting group. But supporters of Gehlot, who always suspected the Pilot group of having an axis with the BJP, now say Prashant Kishor is helping them to float a new party.
While the Pilot group says their leader isn’t a child who needs tutoring from an election strategist, sources reveal that an I-PAC team was indeed working on social media projections of the rebel leader. While Kishor had a bitter fallout with the Congress, his involvement in Rajasthan affairs has deepened the suspicions in the minds of a section of the party. Kishor has been making personal attacks on Rahul Gandhi and ridiculing the Congress over the past few months.
Though Kishor launched his own outfit in Biharand launched a yatra to build his own political fortunes, the political grapevine is abuzz with a new task assigned to him by his old politicalmasters. It is said the BJP has engaged Kishor to createhurdles in the path of Opposition unity for the 2024 parliamentary polls. He has worked closely with Trinamul head Mamata Banerjee and BRS chief K. Chandra Shekhar Rao, two leaders who aren’t comfortable with the Congress’s dominance of the Opposition ranks.
The Congress sees Kishor’s involvement in Rajasthanin that context even as he has distanced himself fromhis company I-PAC. Butsenior Congress leaders believe Pilot won’t play theBJP game even if he took help from I-PAC in some professional assignments. They insisted the negotiations were on and some compromise can be struck between the rival factions.