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JAIPUR: "Who is better , Ahlot or Sachin Pilot? " - it seems this question is haunting the opposition Congress in Rajasthan these days. Strangely, party leaders are trying to seek answers to this query from the candidates aspiring for the post of spokespersons in the state.
Whether the Congress got a suitable answer is uncertain but this question has certainly created a buzz both inside and outside the party. The aspirants who came to give interviews for the posts of spokespersons in PCC office on Tuesday and Wednesday were trapped in a tricky situation when some of them were asked to describe and differentiate the traits of PCC chief Sachin Pilot and ex CM and AICC General Secretary Ashok Gehlot as one of the question.
Vichar Vyas an aspirant who faced the interview said " I was asked who is your personal choice and how will you differentiate between them. I said Pilot is young and outspoken and youth is crazy for him and Ashok Gehlot is an experienced leader who gave good governance to the people of Rajasthan. Gehlot is working from last 40 years for the party."
He added the national convener of the Communication Center of Congress party, Priyanka Chaturvedi and media coordinator Rohan Gupta were analyzing the political intelligence by asking various questions related with Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Prime minister Narendra Modi.
But its the question to differentiate among the traits of Pilot and Gehlot that has created a storm in political corridors of congress as both the leaders are arch rivals and main contenders for the post of chief minister in Rajasthan .
The BJP was quick to mock this situation. BJP's state Vice-President and MP from Kota ,Om Birla has said, "the internal fighting within the Congress has come on the road side. Both are dreaming of becoming the Chief Minister but, are not affected by the pain and struggle of the common man."
He also added that," since the last 5 years they have been an incompetent Opposition and have been busy fighting internally. How will such people work for the welfare of the common man?"After the issue raised a row, the Congress is denying that any such question was asked in the interviews. When asked about it, Priyanka Chaturvedi was quite uncomfortable :"I will not reply to this question, we are just focusing to form a good team to take the agenda of Congress ahead by inducting suitable workers with us for the crucial job. No such questions were asked."
While interviews were being conducted on Tuesday for appointing spokespersons in Rajasthan, Congress National President Rahul Gandhi declared his new Congress Working Committee (CWC) and reshuffling in his team from among the leaders of Rajasthan has created even more of a buzz in the party now.
The members included from Rajasthan in the newly announced CWC are ex CM Ashok Gehlot, who would be retaining the post of General Secretary in AICC. Former Union Minister and senior party leaders CP Joshi and Mohan Prakash have been shown the exit door. But its the removal of Joshi from the CWC that has sparked off a debate in political corridors.
In 2008 Joshi lost the election by one vote and his possibility to become Rajasthan's chief minister vanished with his defeat. But in 2009, after winning the Lok Sabha election he became a MP and was made a cabinet minister in UPA 2 . Joshi also became close to Rahul Gandhi because of his academic background and he was thought to have the potential of a charismatic leader.
Hailing from the Brahmin community, it suited the Congress politically and he was elevated in the party ranks. He was assigned many important tasks and was also made state in charge in North East, Aasam and importantly of Bihar but party failed to make any difference in state assembly elections there.
While Joshi has been dropped, Raghuveer Meena, a tribal leader from Mewar region in Rajasthan has been included for the first time in the CWC .With elections round the corner and and given the importance of Mewar region for the Congress, Meena is seen as replacement of Joshi from Mewar.
Meena earlier was the state youth Congress President and has remained MLA and MP and is considered close to Ashok Gehlot. When asked from the National spokesperson of congress Priyanka Cahturvedi she said no senior person in congress is sidelined , "we are not like BJP where senior leaders are very cleverly sidelined as members of "margdarshan mandal".
All senior party leaders in congress are given appropriate responsibilities at the right time.And in the Congress nobody works for posts but for congress party."
Recently, it has been seen that Ashok Gehlot while working with Rahul Gandhi has managed to come close to Congress President Rahul Gandhi . His role during the Gujarat elections and the recently conducted Karnataka elections in which Congress and JD(S)'s formed a coalition government have helped him earn his mettle with Rahul Gandhi and retain a seat in CWC.
The dropping of Joshi and the promotion in the stature of Gehlot and his loyalists has raised concerns in the Sachin Pilot camp. In election year, Congress politics is bound to revolve around ticket distribution and each stalwart will try to accommodate most of his loyalists - and the CWC changes have made the situation even more intriguing.