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Rajasthan power struggle: Ashok Gehlot prevails over Sachin Pilot, but at what price?

Gehlot has also succeeded in foiling BJP’s plans to topple his government and in its mission to damage the Congress at the national level soon after the MP shocker.

Published: 11th August 2020 03:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2020 08:45 AM   |  A+A-

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot speaks to the media persons as he leaves the airport after arriving back from Jaisalmer to Jaipur Saturday Aug. 1 2020. (File| PTI)

Express News Service

JAIPUR: The return of Sachin Pilot to the Congress fold without any major concessions to him marks a huge victory for CM Ashok Gehlot. 

The party has gone as far as setting up a committee that will look into Pilot’s grievances.

The message is clear: the Gehlot government is safe for now.

Gehlot has also succeeded in foiling BJP’s plans to topple his government and in its mission to damage the Congress at the national level soon after the MP shocker.

Pilot has lost his twin key posts in the state; that of being the PCC chief and deputy CM, in his fight that raged almost a month. Sources say there will be clarity soon over what has been worked out.

But the big questions are: why did Pilot relent after a month-long revolt? Has he had to compromise his stature or has he sealed some secret deal with the party leadership? Gehlot had called him ‘nikamma’ (inefficient) and ‘nakaara’ (useless). 

One of the reasons for Pilot’s climb-down appears to be the bitter truth of the number of MLAs supporting him. In contrast, the pro-Gehlot MLAs stood firm even as they remained corralled in Jaipur and Jaisalmer hotels for nearly a month.

The final straw was former BJP CM Vasundhara Raje’s tough posturing with the party leadership.

The BJP, too, was forced to herd its MLAs in Gujarat, forcing a possible rethink in Pilot about the futility of his ambition to bring down the Gehlot the government.

Another question is whether Pilot would be rehabilitated.

Most observers discount such a possibility, but say a face-saver involving his shifting to Delhi could be offered wherein he might get a party position.

ALSO READ | My fight is for principles, never hankered after any post: Sachin Pilot

The most significant aspect of the Pilot climb-down was the unabashed U-turn of his key strategist, Bhanwarlal Sharma, who had camped in Manesar for a month. 

State Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra on Monday ruled out any possibility of a leadership change in the state, saying it is merely a rumour.

"There is no such thing or discussion on change in leadership. It is a fake and hollow rumour. Ashok Gehlot is the chief minister and he will remain so for five years," Dotasra told reporters here.

Dotasra along with other Congress leaders were here to meet the Rajasthan Speaker C P Joshi ahead of the assembly session convened from August 14.

He also said everyone is free to speak in a meeting but decisions ultimately are taken by the party high command.

ALSO READ | We have managed to keep one of our own with us: Jitin Prasada on Sachin Pilot

"There is a freedom for every member to put forth his views but decisions ultimately are taken by the party high command. Everything is in the knowledge of the party high command and whatever decision is taken, it will be right," he said.

When asked whether the party's doors for Sachin Pilot camp have been closed, he said, "Doors were open. They have run away. We have not asked them to go."

The party's state unit chief said party leaders met Speaker Joshi on Monday so that the House runs smoothly when the session begins on August 14 and issues related to people are discussed peacefully in the House.

He also said the Congress will become a party in the court on the issue of merger of six BSP candidates as they are now the Congress legislators.

(With PTI Inputs)

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