Opinion | Why Congress should shun Gehlot and back Pilot even if Rajasthan govt crumbles?

Opinion | Why Congress should shun Gehlot and back Pilot even if Rajasthan govt crumbles?
Sachin Pilot, Ashok Gehlot
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Sachin Pilot is undoubtedly enraged. And the Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister has valid reasons to be miffed.

It is after much wrangling that a power-sharing formula evolved following the Congress' wafer-thin win in the 2018 assembly polls. There were two claimants for the top post – Former CM Ashok Gehlot and PCC president and young turk Sachin Pilot.

Pilot was handpicked by Rahul Gandhi himself to revive the party's fortunes in Rajasthan before the polls.

The son of Rajesh Pilot, a late Congress stalwart, young Pilot did exactly that. He revived the grassroots network of the party, a tough task in a state ruled by the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government with a favourable dispensation at the Centre.

The Congress sniffed an opportunity as the Vasundhara Raje dispensation was alienated from the masses, but it needed a grassroots network to capitalise on that at the hustings.

A Wharton MBA, Sachin Pilot did not cling to the theoretical aesthetics of business administration but hit the streets to revive the dwindling pulse rate of the ailing Congress organisation in the desert state as the PCC chief. 

Ashok Gehlot, who is now donning the CM's chair for the third time, did not have much work to do on the organisational revival. Or rather chose not to, preferring instead to reap the riches if the Congress stumbles upon power. 

Now, that is a typical old Congress mindset, but still, it pays – unfortunately.

So Gehlot became a front-runner solely on the merit of his seniority in the party while all the onerous tough tasks were done by Pilot, who did not deem it fit to be glued to the armchair.

Jyotiraditya Scindia
Jyotiraditya Scindia

So it is only obvious that Pilot and Jyotiraditya Scindia were overlooked in favour of Gehlot and Kamal Nath by the moribund party high command, despite Rahul Gandhi being at the helm.

The Congress was still run by an ageing coterie vis-a-vis matters of key administrative postings as Gehlot and Kamal Nath's CM appointments proved.

That was a costly mistake. Perhaps, even Rahul Gandhi could not overrule the clout of the ageing warlords in the party then. 

Now, it is blowing out.

Rahul Gandhi with Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot
Rahul Gandhi (middle) with Sachin Pilot (left) and Ashok Gehlot

The Congress first lost the Scindia scion to the BJP. And Sachin Pilot is a shoo-in in case he decides to cross over to the saffron fold.

If Sachin is indeed sidelined again, what the Congress risks is a next-generation political honcho who can steer the party.

So the Congress should rather back Pilot now, even if it means Gehlot would jump the gun and the government would crumble.

Because Gehlot and his perceived followers cannot steer the party or government in a new India with their archetypal political vision.

What Congress badly needs now is the unflinching energy of young blood, not the greying anatomy of a bygone era, represented by the likes of Gehlot.

The alarm bells are already ringing, but this is the Sputnik moment which Rahul Gandhi should grab.

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