What Sachin Pilot will do now?

Blackmail and brinkmanship are bad but a common strategy in politics. Yesterday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot removed rebellion Sachin Pilot from the post of Deputy Chief Minister and chief of PCC as well. However, the political crisis in the state not ended yet. From the beginning, Sachin Pilot’s attempt seemingly has been to bait the BJP with the prospect of toppling the Ashok Gehlot government. All he wanted was the Chief Minister’s post with no ideological or issue-based battle with the incumbent.  And no doubt, it was an ill-timed revolt by Pilot.
At 42, Pilot was a strong satrap holding the reins of the government and the party organisation . Yet, he was in such a hurry that he had to destabilise his own government, issuing threats and conditions to his leadership, showing complete contempt towards the organisational hierarchy. No self-respecting leadership could have acceded to his demands for the post of Chief Minister, Home and Finance portfolios and ministerial berths for his lackeys.
Pilot had played a major role in ensuring the party’s victory in the 2018 polls, defeating the BJP led by Vasundhara Raje.
Pilot claimed Sunday the Ashok Gehlot government is in a minority, it was apparent at the legislature party meeting at Gehlot’s residence on Monday, attended by at least 100 MLAs, that a majority of the state’s Congress legislators support the CM. Gehlot’s camp claims the support of 106 MLAs; while Pilot’s camp disputes this, saying he has the support of only 93-94 MLAs. BJP treads cautiously as unlike Scindia, Sachin Pilot may not prove kingmaker in Rajasthan. Because Vasundhara Raje is another factor leading to the saffron party not going all out to woo rebel Congress leader.
Pilot on Wednesday said he is not interested in joining the BJP even though his erstwhile colleagues like Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Jyotiraditya Scindia have advised him to do so. Technically, Pilot would be a great catch for the BJP, helping the party in furthering the perceptions against Congress not only in Rajasthan, but the entire country.
The other option is for Pilot to float his own regional outfit. If he’s really ambitious and takes the long term view, he can hope to capitalise on the spiralling impatience in Congress’s youth brigade  who don’t see a future in the party – and perhaps split Congress to found a dynamic new version of it.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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