The sacking of senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot as Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister and state unit chief has brought to the fore the fighting spirit and rebellious streak he has inherited from his late father Rajesh Pilot who had also dared the party leadership in his political life.
Sachin, who was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and state unit chief post, in a single line targeted the party and said, “Truth can be troubled but cannot be defeated.” Sachin, who entered politics in 2004 and served twice as a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament and was also a minister in the Congress-led UPA 2 government, seems to have followed in the footsteps of his father.
He was one of the youngest MPs in 2004 and became Union minister at the age of 31. After losing in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Sachin was made the Rajasthan Congress chief. His father Rajesh Pilot became a Union minister at an age of 40 after two Lok Sabha election victories. In early 1990s, Rajesh Pilot openly dared Congress veterans like Arjun Singh, SB Chavan and others and asserted that if he had been in charge, the Babri Masjid debacle would never have taken place in Uttar Pradesh. Rajesh Pilot was also among the leaders who challenged then Congress chief PV Narasimha Rao.
Similarly, a soft spoken Sachin brought the Congress back to power in Rajasthan in 2018 and he was hailed as the architect of the victory. But he remained adamant on his stance despite Congress leaders like Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, P Chidambaram and many others who tried to persuade him to return to Jaipur and attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.
Following the sacking of Sachin, many party leaders sided with him. Former Union minister and senior party leader, Jitin Prasada tweeted, “Sachin Pilot is not just a collegues but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this..”
Priya Dutt, daughter of late Congress leader and Bollywood actor Sunil Dutt also took to Twitter and wrote, “Another friend leaves the party both Sachin and Jyotiraditya (Scindia) were colleagues and good friends unfortunately our party has lost two stalwart young leaders with great potential. I don’t believe being ambitious is wrong. They have worked hard through the most difficult times.”
Former Union minister and senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that he was sad because the son of his dear friend Rajesh Pilot is at a vortex. “Sad to see events unfold in Rajasthan. Sad particularly because the son of my dearest late friend, Rajesh Pilot is at the vortex. We have challenges ahead that make personal ambitions and expectations insignificant. Let us rededicate our vision and energy,” Khurshid said in a tweet.
This is the second big jolt to the Congress in the last four months. Earlier in March former Union minister and Gwalior royal Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party and joined the BJP leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh.
More than one third of respondents to a snap poll feel that the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan will collapse and the BJP will return in the state, as per IANS CVoter.
The poll comes on a day when Congress rebel Sachin Pilot was sacked from two key posts — one in the party and the other in the government, that of Deputy Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President.
With a sample size of 1,200, the poll found that 37.2 per cent respondents feel the Congress government will collapse in Rajasthan and the Bharatiya Janata Party will return in the state. Pilot is also said to be in touch with the BJP, which has been closely monitoring the developments.
More people seem to be backing Pilot to become the Chief Minister compared to Gehlot. A total 29.1 per cent said that Pilot will replace Gehlot as the Chief Minister while only 19.2 per cent said Ashok Gehlot will continue as the Rajasthan Chief Minister and Pilot will be pacified.
The fourth possible outcome has the lowest probability as per the survey. A 14.4 per cent said that Ashok Gehlot will continue as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Sachin Pilot will join the BJP.
In a direct fallout of the Congress’ political crisis over the leadership issue in Rajasthan, not just Sachin Pilot was divested of key posts on Tuesday but two other Pilot-loyalist Ministers — Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena — were also removed from Gehlot’s council of ministers.
State Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasra was appointed the new Pradesh Congress Committee chief, leaving everyone wondering about Pilot’s next move.
After his removal as Rajasthan deputy chief minister, the rebel Congress leader said: “Truth can be rattled, not defeated.” He tweeted in Hindi.
Pilot also changed his profile on Twitter deleting his position as deputy CM and Rajasthan Congress chief. He described himself only as an MLA of Tonk and a former Minister of IT, Telecom and Corporate affairs of Government of India.
Earlier, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot accused Sachin Pilot of playing into the hands of the BJP. He alleged that that the BJP wanted to repeat what it has done in Madhya Pradesh (with Jyotiraditya Scindia). But the BJP’s intentions will not bear fruit in Rajasthan, Gehlot said.