As temperatures soar in Rajasthan, the heat is on the Congress in Delhi to pilot a solution to the Gehlot-Sachin Pilot crisis. More than 24 hours after a warning that the Congress saw Pilot’s ‘anshan’ as an anti-party activity, the Grand Old Party is yet to figure out whether he should be issued a show-cause notice.
The reasons are many. One, as per sources, Priyanka Vadra is not keen to rock the boat. The Congress has seen some exits like those of Anil Antony and CK Kesavan of late. While the party may dismiss them as small leaders who make no difference, the fact is that with each departure, the Congress looks to be out of sync and Rahul Gandhi is blamed.
At this time, Pilot facing action would make the party look poor on two counts. One, when Rahul Gandhi is spearheading a campaign against corruption, Pilot’s strike on opening corruption cases against Vasundhara Raje Scindia cannot be seen as a case against him. It can certainly not be called anti-party, said a source close to Pilot.
Second, Pilot may just be an MLA but he is one of the high-profile and star campaigners of the Congress. With very few young leaders left with pan-India appeal, distancing him from the party could hurt the Congress as it heads for the 2024 polls.
However, on the other hand, is Ashok Gehlot. On multiple occasions, he has shown that he is the man in control. While Rajasthan usually sees a cyclical pattern in state polls, the Congress is hopeful of a win again with some good schemes being announced by the chief minister, like right to health.
It is also clear that state in-charge Sukhvinder Randhawa and other senior leaders have moved closer to Gehlot and are supporting him. In a subtle way, Pilot is being painted as someone who is a rebel and is helping the BJP.
In the end, it’s a tense situation and a case of who blinks first. Gehlot could stand up to Sonia Gandhi after the failed CLP meeting. Weakened Gandhis may find it difficult to confront Gehlot and despite the siblings’ soft corner for Pilot, it may be difficult to take on Gehlot.
Post the Punjab debacle, top leaders of the Congress — including the Gandhis — are caught in a dilemma. Who should bell the cat? Will Pilot be the fall guy? And in the end, will a divided Congress give an edge to the BJP?