Rajasthan crisis deepens, Sachin Pilot refuses talks, Congress struggles to get numbers for Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's revolt against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has set the alarm bell ringing for the party, which held a legislature party meeting in Jaipur and decided to hold another meeting on Tuesday to woo back dissidents.

Rajasthan crisis deepens, Sachin Pilot refuses talks, Congress struggles to get numbers for Ashok Gehlot
Image courtesy: ANI
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New Delhi: As the Congress is grappling with a crisis in Rajasthan for the last 24 hours, political circles are agog with debates over the Ashok Gehlot government meeting the same fate of Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh, where disgruntled Jyotiraditya Scindia toppled the state government. With Sachin Pilot raising the banner of revolt against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the DNA analysis today concentrates on the number game and other factors related to the ongoing political in Rajasthan.

Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot's revolt against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has set the alarm bell ringing for the party, which held a legislature party meeting in Jaipur and decided to hold another meeting on Tuesday to woo back dissidents. Former party president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are among the senior leaders who have been in touch with Sachin Pilot. The second meeting of the Congress Legislature Party was announced several hours after the first one ended on Monday afternoon, skipped by Pilot and 18 other party MLAs. 

Sachin Pilot, who is currently to Delhi-NCR with his supporting legislators, is claiming the support of around 30 MLAs. If this number is in Pilot's camp, then it would impossible for Gehlot to survive in Rajasthan. There were reports that Sachin Pilot may join BJP like Jyotiraditya Scindia, but so far it has been denied by him and sources close to him. 

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, however, showed his strength in Jaipur today at the Congress Legislature Party meeting, where around 106 MLAs reportedly attended. Ashok Gehlot, however, took his MLAs in the bus at a resort. This simply shows that Gehlot is not confident in his number game. However, those close to Pilot him disputed Gehlot's claim that his government had a majority and said this is proven in the assembly and not at the CM's house. 

So far, the Gehlot government had the support of 123 MLAs, including 107 Congress MLAs, 2 MLAs of Bharatiya Tribal Party, one RLD MLA, and 13 Independents, but of these 123 MLAs, he is now left with only 101 MLAs. Out of the 22 rebel MLAs, Sachin Pilot has claimed the support of 19 Congress MLAs and 3 Independents. 

In Rajasthan's total 200 assembly seats, 101 MLAs are needed to save the government, but two MLAs of the Indian Tribal Party have also pulled out of the Gehlot government, which currently has the support of merely 99 legislators. But what is more worrying for Ashok Gehlot is that among the remaining 99 MLAs, several are claimed to be of Sachin Pilot's camp. 

Perhaps this is the reason that despite CLP resolution urging strong disciplinary action against any party office-bearer or CLP member who does anything to weaken the government or the party, it stopped short of naming Pilot, who also heads the party's state unit. Apart from Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, Ahmed Patel, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, and AICC general secretary, KC Venugopal are learned to have spoken with Pilot.

Since Sachin Pilot is still unrelenting, he is left with three options amid the current political scenario.

1. The first option is that after talking to Priyanka Gandhi and other senior leaders, Sachin should relent and continue in his post as Deputy Chief Minister as well as the state president. With this compromise, the party in return may accept some of his conditions.

2. The other option is that like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot should leave Congress and join BJP and chart his future course of action. This option will work be only if he is capable of toppling Ashok Gehlot's government.

3. Sachin Pilot is left with the third option to break the party with his supporters and form a regional outfit as sources close to him has so far denied reports that Pilot will join the BJP.

It is important to understand what happened between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot that within 19 months, the Congress government in Rajasthan is facing this crisis. Here are six points to understand.

1. When the Congress lost in Rajasthan in the 2013 assembly elections under the leadership of Ashok Gehlot, the Rajasthan Congress was looking for a new leader Sachin Pilot emerged on the scene to revive the prospects of the party.

2. In 1998 and 2008, Ashok Gehlot was made the Chief Minister twice in Rajasthan but he failed to return the party into power both times.

3. When the Congress made Sachin Pilot the state president of Rajasthan in 2014, he strengthened the Congress and was seen as the future Chief Minister of the state. This was the reason that Ashok Gehlot could not tolerate the rise of Sachin Pilot.

4. Despite the factionalism, the Congress returned to power in Rajasthan in 2018 due to the hard work and leadership of Sachin Pilot, but Ashok Gehlot overshadowed Sachin Pilot and became the Chief Minister's chair, leading to a fresh struggle between the two.

5. Even as Sachin Pilot was appointed Deputy Chief Minister, he did not get the attention that he expected. Be it the cabinet or the administration or the political appointments, he was always kept away.

6. There was a confrontation between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot on the issue of appointment of new state president in Rajasthan as both the leaders wanted to appoint the state president of their choice.

The current crisis began on Friday when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Sachin Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government. Although the same notice was sent to the chief minister and some other MLAs, Pilot's supporters claimed that it was only meant to humiliate him.