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Blog: What Sachin Pilot exit means for Cong

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The unceremonious ouster of Sachin Pilot as deputy chief minister and the state Congress chief of Rajasthan is now complete. It appears to have happened so suddenly that it is tough to keep pace with the developments. But a closer look reveals that the entire game plan to force Pilot’s hand had been planned months in advance by chief minister and his bitter rival Ashok Gehlot. Congress looks pleased at having managed to save its government in Rajasthan for now, but what the party doesn’t realise is that by playing to Gehlot’s script, they have done permanent damage to the floundering party.

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There is no doubt Gehlot is extremely hardworking and understands Rajasthan politics better than others. All the more reason why he should have played a mentor to Sachin Pilot. It is easy to blame Pilot for not playing tango with Gehlot and even easier to pin the blame on him for hobnobbing with BJP leaders to topple the state government. But will the party leadership ever go behind the reasons for Pilot’s unhappiness and his increasing marginalisation in the state where he was officially the number two in the state? The frustration kept piling for Pilot as he was left to fend for himself. The only option in play always was ‘compromise’ without a level playing field.

Truth can be rattled, not defeated: Sachin Pilot

READ: https://t.co/XnnQMlZb0G#RajasthanPoliticalCrisis #SachinPilot

— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) July 14, 2020

Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi’s emissaries tried to reach out to Pilot but with little success. Pilot has every reason of being wary of Rahul Gandhi’s assurances given his past experience. During the 2018 assembly election campaign, Pilot had expressed confidence that the Gandhi scion would keep his word on empowering youth leaders if Congress came to power in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It may have appeared naïve to many but Pilot never doubted Rahul Gandhi’s support if it ever boiled down to that. In the end, Rahul wilted under pressure which led to the old guard taking control in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Sachin Pilot sticks to his guns, seeks ways against Gehlot’s ‘unilateralism’

Congress sources claimed that while Pilot was expected to bring 30 MLAs with him, he could manage only 21.https://t.co/txY5dDg85a

— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) July 14, 2020

The moot question is, what did Congress gain by promoting the old guard as chief ministers? They were appointed chief ministers because they could keep Congress governments afloat which couldn’t be expected from the younger leaders. Today, the party has utterly failed in that objective. Congress lost power in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and now Rajasthan appears headed in the same direction. Maharashtra too could be in line next. Except for Karnataka where they have DK Shivkumar, all that is left within the party is the old guard while the younger leaders have been forced to accept compromise or walk away from the mother ship.

No one can take away the fact that #Sachin_Pilot worked with dedication for Cong: Jitin Prasada

Prasada, considered a leader of the party’s ‘young brigade’, also expressed the hope that the situation can be salvaged.

Read–https://t.co/9neXHarwNs pic.twitter.com/R01xvezYiP

— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) July 14, 2020

Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot’s exit from the Congress will have a long term impact. The party has not just lost the youth sheen, but will be viewed as party where promising OBC leaders are not given their due. Their departure will also perpetuate the perception of Congress being run only to serve the interests of one particular family. At a time when the Narendra Modi government appears to be struggling in dealing with a number of issues ranging from controlling Covid, sluggish economy and the growing China-Pak nexus at our borders, nothing would suit the BJP more than another self-goal by the Congress.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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