Rajasthan political crisis | Sachin Pilot expected to spell out his future plans on July 15

Past tense: A file photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot.

Past tense: A file photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot is expected to spell out his future plans on Wednesday, a source close to Mr. Pilot told The Hindu as political circles seemed focussed on what next for him and his supporters after being dropped as Deputy Chief Minister and the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.

Also read: BJP wary after Maharashtra experience

Apart from a cryptic tweet thanking his supporters and a change in his bio on twitter to call himself as MLA from the Tonk constituency and a former Union Minister, Mr. Pilot didn’t drop any hints.

But some of his party colleagues are still hoping to salvage the situation. “Sachin Pilot is not just a colleague but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely we hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this,” tweeted former Congress MP Jitin Prasada.

Congress leaders said they would wait for the next move by the Pilot camp and insisted that the party has neither suspended nor expelled him. So what are the possible options for Mr. Pilot?

Also read: Analysis | Sachin Pilot revolt brings into focus Congress’s leadership battles across States

Follow his friend and join BJP

Like his friend Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mr. Pilot can join the BJP and work towards dislodging the Ashok Gehlot by forcing a floor test. Though the Pilot camp at the moment claims the support of 20-22 MLAs, they are confident that more would join in during a floor test. Already, there are reports of three MLAs shifting loyalties apart from Rajkumar Roat, Bharatiya Tribal Party MLA, complaining about the Rajasthan police restricting his movement.

With the Speaker being a Congress leader, the rebel MLAs could get entangled in disqualification and lengthy legal battles.

The other option is to follow the Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh model and persuade more MLAs to resign and bring down the Congress numbers below the BJP and its allies who have 76 MLAs.

Also read: Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat hints at Sachin Pilot’s entry into BJP

In the BJP, however, Mr. Pilot not only faces the risk of getting overshadowed by leaders like Vasundhara Raje and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat but may not be made Chief Minister, the main reason for the feud, immediately. He could, however, be made a Minister in the Union Cabinet.

Float his own party

The 42-year-old rebel Congress leader could float a regional party of his own as he has the experience of working with grassroots workers as the PCC chief. But Rajasthan has largely been a two-party State with even parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) failing to emerge as a force despite a substantial Dalit population.

With the Congress party being in a state of drift since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and questions being raised about the effectiveness of its leadership, there is a section which believes Mr. Pilot can challenge the status quo and provide an alternative leadership outside the Gandhi family. “Leaders like Scindia and Sachin Pilot have the potential to become the alternative of Rahul Gandhi. And, perhaps, because of this, the Congress leadership is hesitant to make them the faces of the party in their respective States,”said Sri Prakash Singh, professor of Political Science in the Delhi University.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 10:38:54 AM |

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