The Congress has been abuzz since Rahul Gandhi stepped in to fix party fissures in Punjab, and Rajasthan may well follow suit. Rajasthan is expected to undergo a change of guard, but not very soon. However, Congress sources told me that since the political situation in Rajasthan and Punjab isn’t the same, the party could well take the Punjab route to get rid of anti-incumbency before the ensuing assembly elections. After the upcoming assembly polls in the five states, Rajasthan could undergo a change of leadership in about six months. Sachin Pilot’s first meeting with Rahul Gandhi since his revolt last year stirred speculation on September 17.
Asked about the matter, Sachin Pilot refused to comment. The Congress leader said, however, that certain promises were made to Sachin Pilot when he was wooed back to the party. The party high command has not spoken more than once since then, despite many of his team switching sides. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Sachin Pilot have met several times. Together with Ahmad Patel, she had wooed the young leader back into the party.
Ajay Maken, the party’s Rajasthan leader, has already prepared a template for a reorganization of the state government; no announcement will be made until Rajasthan Governor Ashok Gehlot has recovered from his heart surgery and he is avoiding public contact as he convalesces. The upcoming cabinet reshuffle will not bring sweeping changes to the government. According to sources, ‘Punjab cannot be compared to Rajasthan. Ashok Gehlot holds considerable influence among MLAs and is a popular leader’.
It is no wonder Gehlot refuses to give much ground to Sachin Pilot, even at the behest of the party high command. It is likely that a more significant and clear change will take place after the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh elections. Sachin Pilot was contacted primarily to reassure him that the party had not forgotten him. Leadership’s priority was to focus on the immediate challenge at hand.
Sachin Pilot may make a comeback as the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief. In light of the fact that he was the only PCC president who was not made chief minister, in contrast to Kamal Nath, Bhupesh Baghel, and even Captain Amarinder Singh, his supporters feel that this may be a good beginning.