NEW DELHI: Just before his Bharat Jodo Yatra enters Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi has been served a sharp reminder of the festering power struggle in the state between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his key rival Sachin Pilot. “The current Congress government has completed four years and one year is left. Now Sachin Pilot should be made the chief minister. If this happens, then you (Rahul Gandhi) are welcome. We will oppose otherwise,” Gurjar leader Vijay Singh Bainsla has said.
However, Mr Sachin Pilot has distanced himself from Mr Bainsla’s comments, and said: “No matter how hard the BJP tries, the yatra will be successful,” When asked about Mr Bainsla’s threat, Mr Pilot said: “The BJP may try to create disturbances… But it is the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and it will be successful. We will all welcome the yatra with unity.” The former deputy CM said he was confident that the excitement the yatra was generating will be visible to all. He said: “People from all communities want the yatra to come to the state. From here, it will be a new beginning for the Congress … for elections and for the people of the state.”
Insiders claim that the Congress high command is waiting for the Assembly election process in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to be over before taking a final call on Rajasthan. The dilly-dallying over the leadership issue in Rajasthan by the high command has now started hurting the party. In late September the high command had wanted Mr Gehlot to move to a national role and contest the Congress presidential election. For this, a CLP meeting was organised but the meeting could not take place because of the revolt by MLAs.
The AICC general secretary in charge of Rajasthan has already tendered his resignation to party chief Mallikarjun Kharge. His grouse was that no action hds been taken by the party against three erring legislators from Rajasthan for the indiscipline on September 25.
The yatra will enter Rajasthan in the first week of December. The party will have to keep a united house in Rajasthan if the yatra is to succeed in the state. Also, the party will have to take a call on the leadership issue in state very soon.