Gehlot vs Pilot: Renewed tussle points to failure of Cong high command - The Tribune India

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Gehlot vs Pilot

Renewed tussle points to failure of Cong high command

Gehlot vs Pilot

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. File photo



Congress-RULED Rajasthan is witnessing another round of a bitter power struggle, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot calling his former deputy Sachin Pilot a gaddar (traitor) who cannot replace him. Dismissing the CM’s allegations, Pilot — who was the state party chief when the Congress won the 2018 Assembly election and wrested power from the BJP — has asserted that he has the credentials to lead the party to victory in next year’s poll as well. Adding fuel to fire, state minister Rajendra Singh Gudha has claimed that 80 per cent of the MLAs are with Pilot. The latest confrontation comes days before former party chief Rahul Gandhi is set to enter the state as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Pilot had staked claim to the CM’s post two months ago when there was speculation that Gehlot could become the next Congress president. There was a needless clamour to quickly replace the CM even though the presidential poll had been over three weeks away. Gehlot eventually backed out, but an uneasy calm prevailed in Rajasthan – before the latest verbal duel brought sharp differences to the fore again. It’s clear that the high command has made a mess of things yet again. The fact that the Congress now has a full-time president, Mallikarjun Kharge, has not improved things on the ground in any way. Even as the Gandhi family is seemingly taking a back seat in the party’s affairs, Kharge is unable to stamp his authority over regional heavyweights such as Gehlot or restless young leaders like Pilot.

The tug-of-war in Rajasthan is likely to demoralise the Congress cadre ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election, which is the first big test of Kharge’s leadership. The grand old party, which is in power on its own only in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, direly needs to ensure that Gehlot and Pilot don’t step on each other’s toes. It remains to be seen if the Gandhis will allow the drift to continue or make a prompt intervention to soothe frayed tempers. The challenge now is to control the damage caused by the rift between the old guard and the young brigade.


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