Analysis | Back in Congress, Pilot likely to fly high with a national role

Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot leaves after meeting with party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, at 15 GRG Road war room in New Delhi, Monday. Photo: PTI

The Congress national leadership has succeeded in averting the political crisis in Rajasthan, at least for now, by paving way for the return of disgruntled Sachin Pilot to the party. The party's real challenge now lies in making it look like a win-win situation for both the organisation and the rebellious camp.

On his return, after a month of political uncertainties in the desert state, Pilot is most likely to be accommodated in the national leadership, sources aware of the talks between the party top brass and the leader said.

“It is unlikely that Pilot could be reinstated as the state Congress chief or the deputy chief minister after the rebellion he played out. He is likely to be given a top post in the central leadership,” the source said.

Pilot could be made a general secretary. The post could also be something more powerful in case the party goes for a restructuring of the top brass.

Reacting to the turn of events, Pilot on Monday said dissent against the party was “never about a post but self-respect”. However, it is no more a secret that Pilot wanted veteran Ashok Gehlot removed from the CM's chair which the party did not entertain.

The source said the party leadership did not want to lose a leader of Pilot's stature and talks were on for the past two weeks about a formula to make his return possible.

In this Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019 file photo the rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot (R) is seen with the then Congress President Rahul Gandhi during a rally in Jaipur. Photo: PTI

Pilot and 18 other MLAs had rebelled against Chief Minister Gehlot in Rajasthan, leading to Pilot's sacking as deputy chief minister and state party chief in July.

The decision about his return to the party was announced on Monday after he met party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi.

Sachin Pilot will "work in the interest" of the Congress party and its government in the state (Rajasthan), the Congress said on Monday after a meeting between the former Rajasthan deputy chief minister and Rahul Gandhi. The two leaders had a "frank, open and conclusive discussion", AICC general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said in a statement.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress leader Sachin Pilot (R) is seen with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during. File photo: PTI

Following the meeting, Congress president Sonia Gandhi decided that the AICC will constitute a three-member committee to address the issues raised by Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs and arrive at an appropriate resolution.

The crucial development has taken place ahead of the Rajasthan assembly session scheduled for August 14. The decision on Pilot's new role in the party may be announced before that.

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