Sachin Pilot meets Rahul Gandhi hinting at change of guard in Rajasthan

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Sachin Pilot. File

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Sachin Pilot. File | Photo Credit: Rohit Jain Paras

Senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot who is also a contender for the Rajasthan Chief Minister’s post, met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in Delhi on Friday. The meeting, coming 17-months ahead of the Assembly elections in the State gives hope to Mr. Pilot’s supporters of a possible change of guard in the State.

According to sources, Mr. Pilot, who was in Ajmer this morning, was asked to reach Delhi for the meeting at 6 p.m. The meeting went on for 45-minutes and was attended by couple of other leaders too. However, Mr. Pilot did not comment on the meeting.

Detailed discussion

During the meeting, as per leaders familiar with the discussions, Rajasthan politics was deliberated in detail. The party's central leadership has sought to convey to Mr. Pilot that it is aware of his aspirations and also the situation in the State where there is serious infighting between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Mr. Pilot's camp. The State of law and order and complaints about corruption, sources said, also came up for the discussions. However, no formal assurances have been given.

Even if the party leadership is amenable to promoting Mr. Pilot to Chief Minister’s chair, the timing is very crucial. The party has already scalded its hands by bringing in Charanjit Singh Channi at the very last minute in Punjab. The loss in Punjab has left the Congress with only two states — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Rajasthan especially becomes critical for the party if it wants to maintain its tally in 2024 general elections. "We won the State in Nov-Dec of 2018 and within months, in the general elections, we could not win a single seat. Now, in all likelihood the party’s tally will reduce in Kerala and other States in 2024 and that makes Rajasthan even more crucial. Unless we recover the lost ground here, it would be difficult to maintain even our 2019 tally," a senior Congress leader said.

Mr. Pilot in June 2020 had led a failed coup attempt against Mr. Gehlot's government but since then he has not openly staked claim on the Chief Minister’s chair. In November last year, after a meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi the Rajasthan cabinet was reshuffled to accommodate Mr. Pilot's supporters.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2022 9:51:40 pm |