Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia speaks to Nistula Hebbar on the political crisis engulfing the State.....
Q / How do you view the developments in the Rajasthan Congress and the State government?
A / If you look at the background just before 2018, before the Congress government was formed, Sachin Pilot was Congress president and Ashok Gehlot was just a senior leader. It was said about Ashok Gehlot that he was man of 24/7, 365 days a year politics. At that time there was suspense as to who would be Chief Minister, and even when Gehlot took oath, there were slogans in the Raj Bhavan cheering two CMs — Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.
A / When the ministry was formed, there were differences, there were fights over allotment of office space in the secretariat. Then came the events of July 2020, when the Sachin Pilot group openly revolted and the whole government was sequestered in resorts for 50 days. For four years, the Congress high command did nothing to repair or even address this scatter in their ranks. So what has happened is a manifestation of the internal contradictions within the Congress, and it will not reduce anytime soon. The party has a government only in two states- Rajasthan and Chattisgarh and are unable to handle a big state like Rajasthan, what Bharat Jodo Yatra, they need to get their party together.
A / I’m yet to see more anti-incumbency against a particular government as I have seen against the current government in Rajasthan. Congress will lose the next polls and I see the party going into terminal decline as well.
Q / Rajasthan has always had a two party system — Congress and BJP, so if you are anticipating a terminal decline for the Congress who do you anticipate taking its place?
A / I don’t know who will fill the vacuum. When I speak of a terminal decline, I refer to the fact that whenever Congress goes out of power, it cannot handle it. Also there are too many internal contradictions within their party and the people too are fed up.
Q / What do you think lies in Sachin Pilot’s future, and is BJP an alternative for him?
A / Politics is like films and cricket, full of possibilities. It is not possible to say what will happen. As I said earlier, Pilot and his group revolted in 2020,for which we were wrongly accused, and Ashok Gehlot has done so now, they are in that sense equal in terms of offence, their party high command has to decide what punishment to mete to whom. But the fact remains that nothing was done in the last four years to repair what was obviously a bad situation from the get go, and its foolish to assume that the Congress will be more disciplined about this inner party clash in future. Sachin Pilot will have to decide which direction his future takes.
Q / Are you anticipating early polls?
A / I can’t totally rule this out because the way things have panned out, even if a compromise is reached whoever the next chief minister, with this kind of clash within the party, will have a difficult time running the government to term
Q / Is the BJP going to take any active steps to form a government in the State?
A / No. We are very clear, we will wait for 2023 polls. We have a year left and are in preparation for polls.