Let us analyse the political “Game of Thrones” in Rajasthan.
Sachin Pilot Vs Ashok Gehlot.
- Who is greedy for power and who is trying to brighten the fate of the Party?
- Will the govt in Rajasthan be able to stick around or can it fall?
- Is there a shot to poach MLAs here?
The story isn’t as straight forward as it sounds. Come, let us do the analysis of current scenario of high voltage Political drama. Ever since the Congress won the state elections in 2018, it had been the subject of dialogue. Who ought to be the Chief Minister- Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot?
Most of the youngsters within the country were in favour of Sachin Pilot to take charge of Chief Minister as he is a youth leader. However, Congress appointed Ashok Gehlot. They could have had their own internal reasons. Ashok Gehlot was elder and a skilled politician during this case.
A similar scenario happened in Madhya Pradesh- between Scindhia and Kamal Nath and Congress appointed Kamal Nath as the Chief Minister. There was a division between the Old Guard and young brigade within the Congress right from the beginning. Especially, in Rajasthan, it is said that MLAs were more in favour of Sachin Pilot were divided from the MLAs who favoured Ashok Gehlot. There was a distrust amongst them and each of the factions failed to trust each other. This distrust surfaced when the Congress Party had won the elections.
Back then, Rahul Gandhi had conjointly got each of them photographed in conjunction with him to show that the variations between each of them had been resolved and that they were both working together. But however 2 years down, today, it has become clear that those differences had never been resolved. hat They had indeed, been escalating and have reached to the stage when now Sachin Pilot is rising like the rebel of the decade.
The controversy started on 11th July, when the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot alleged that BJP was offering their MLAs a worth of 25 crores each to switch parties and collapse the running Government. This doesn’t sounds much surprising as similar situation rose in case of both the states, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
When Kumaraswamy was the Chief Minister in Karnataka, he alleged that BJP was offering their MLAs
a price of 20 crore per MLA so that their government would collapse. He even released audio tapes as a proof to it. And the same thing happened some months later, as around 16-17 MLAs switched parties.
Their government collapsed and the BJP then formed the government in Karnataka.
A similar thing happened in Madhya Pradesh When Kamal Nath alleged that BJP was offering 20-30 crores to their MLAs to switch parties, the exact thing happened some months later- as some MLAs switched parties. Their government also collapsed and the BJP then formed the government there too.
So, it would not come off as a surprise if the BJP is trying to do the same thing in this case.
But it would be an incomplete story if viewed from only the BJP angle. Because the internal politics within the Congress also plays a huge role in this case. On 11th July, the Special Operations Group of Rajasthan arrested two people with links to the BJP on the charge of bribing the Congress politicians.
On the same day, notices were sent to Sachin Pilot and other MLAs by the Rajasthan police to record their statements regarding this charge. It is said that due to this particular reason and various other reasons in the past Sachin Pilot got miffed and he went to Haryana along with 10-15 of the MLAs that supported him. He made arrangements for these MLAs into a hotel.
After that, speculations arose that Sachin Pilot would meet with the BJP president, J P Nadda and he would soon join the BJP, But that did not happen. In fact, Sachin Pilot said that he has no interest in joining the BJP.
On 12th July, Ashok Gehlot called a party meeting to show solidarity and to show the number of MLAs that support him. He said that there are around 109 MLAs that stand in support of him. The Sachin Pilot camp said that there are around 30 MLAs that are in his support of him and they can lead the Government to collapse.
Let us see the statistics of Rajasthan assembly. There are 200 seats in total of which 101 is the majority mark needed by any party to come into the power. In 2018, Congress had won 107 seats, while BJP had won 72. And 13 out of the remaining seats were won by independents.Congress claims that these independent candidates were in favour of the Congress. And there is one party- RLP which is an ally of BJP with 3 seats.
Now, how many MLAs are in support of Sachin Pilot and how many independent MLAs and the remaining party MLAs support the Ashok Gehlot government will determine whether the government will continue or not.
After this, Rajasthan Congress called a legislature meeting for its MLAs on 13th July and warned of a disciplinary action against the MLAs who did not attend the same. Sachin Pilot and the MLAs that support him did not turn up for the meeting. After that, on 14th July the Congress Party called for another meeting in which Sachin Pilot and the MLAs that support him did not turn up for this meeting too.
Sachin Pilot was stripped off the post of Deputy Chief Minister for repeatedly ignoring the meeting summons. He was also removed from the post of President for the Congress Party for Rajasthan.
Along with that, the MLAs that supported him, who were ministers in the Rajasthan government,
were also sacked from the post of ministers.
After that, the Speaker of Rajasthan served a notice to around 19 MLAs of the Congress who were in support of Sachin Pilot and asked them why they should not be disqualified as they were not responding to party summons. This notice was sent under the anti defection law, which can lead to the disqualification of these MLAs.
Subsequently, Sachin Pilot came out in the public and said that he had no interest in joining the BJP
and that he is not joining BJP. Then, Sachin Pilot and his supporting MLAs challenged this notice in the High Court that it would be wrong to disqualify them as they have done nothing wrong.
Who wants What?
The fact of the matter is that Sachin Pilot and the MLAs that support him do not want to be disqualified
as the rule says that if an MLA gets disqualified, then they cannot become a minister in the new government until they win an election again.
Let’s Say the Congress government in Rajasthan falls and BJP forms the government then, The MLAs who have been disqualified today want to become ministers in this new government. But they cannot become a minister in the new government until they contest an election and win again. But at the same time, they can do so if the MLAs resign on their own.
The same happened in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. The MLAs twho were allegedly “bought over” by the BJP, had resigned on their own. They could then easily become ministers in the new government even if fresh elections had not been held.
Now if we have a look to the current scenario from the perspective of Ashok Gehlot, he’d definitely want the 19 MLAs to be disqualified. Because if they are disqualified, then the strength of the Rajasthan assembly would fall from 200 to 181. i.e, (200-19=181).
The strength of Congress would fall from 107 to 88 (107-19=88). But with a strength of 181, the majority mark would be at 91. As 88 is not that far away from 91, So Congress would need the support of only 3 more MLAs- be it independent MLAs or the MLAs of some other party in order to save their government.
But if these MLAs do not get disqualified. And if the Ashok Gehlot government is asked to prove the majority. And during which if these 19 MLAs vote against the Congress, then the government would collapse. Although doing this would get them disqualified, but their vote would still be counted. And taking their votes into count would mean that the government will certainly collapse.
Then, in both the cases- whether they get disqualified or resign on their own, a re- election for those seats would anyway have to be conducted. But the fact is- until those re-elections are conducted, who would form the government here?
If the 19 MLAs of Congress vote in favour of BJP, then BJP’s total strength would become 72+19+3, as
the 3 would be the earlier allies of BJP. That would take the strength of BJP to 94 and the strength of Congress would fall down to 88.
Now, it would depend on the rest of the 13 independent MLAs whether BJP would take lead or the Congress. And who succeed in forming the government in Rajasthan. And again, how much money would be offered and what else would be done there.
So, overall, this is the only reason why Ashok Gehlot would want the MLAs to be disqualified. And these MLAs would try their best to not be disqualified. A case has been ongoing in the High Court regarding this.
Who is right? Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot?
This entire controversy raises a question- Who is right here? Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot?
Who, in this case is greedy for power and who rightly deserves it? There is one section of people who favour Sachin Pilot and the other who favour Ashok Gehlot.
Let us see what the arguments are from both the sides.
1. First argument is followed by three different points.
- Those in favour of Sachin Pilot say that he was responsible for the revival of Congress in Rajasthan
In 2013, as Congress faced one of the worst defeats in Rajasthan. After that, Sachin Pilot built up the party and set up the organization in order to ensure the victory.
- Several famous journalists and four Congress functionaries have said that Sachin Pilot was baited by Ashok Gehlot. This entire crisis has been started by Ashok Gehlot to remove Sachin Pilot from his way and to ensure that this problem never rise up again and his power is never challenged again. To bait Sachin Pilot, he had got the Rajasthan police to send him a notice and this “triggered” Sachin pilot.
- It is also said that over one and a half years, Sachin Pilot has been neglected by the Ashok Gehlot government. And that he was kept away from the helm of affairs. In the COVID-19 crisis, Sachin Pilot was not involved despite being the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan. And when the government of Rajasthan released a booklet of its one- year achievements, it did not have any mention of Sachin Pilot.
2. Those in favour of Ashok Gehlot says that when Congress won the elections in Rajasthan in 2018, the idea that Sachin Pilot was responsible for that victory is a rumor. That was not so in reality. In reality, voters always switch the government every next five years in Rajasthan. So the government was set to change anyway. Sachin Pilot didn’t have as big a role as portrayed by the media.
There is also speculation that BJP, especially Amit Shah wanted Vasundhara Raje out of his way because he does not want any competitor against him for the post of Prime Minister and Vasundhara Raje was a Chief Minister who did not pay heed to the central command (Modi and Amit Shah).
3. Another argument is that the idea that Sachin Pilot was baited by Ashok Gehlot is not true because the Rajasthan police had actually intercepted audio in which there were conversations of the BJP trying to bribe and the proof that offers were being made to the MLAs exists. This is true as two people were even arrested in the same case.
4. Some people even argue that Sachin Pilot was getting too greedy Because Congress Party let him become an MP at the age of 26. He became the Union Minister at the age of 32. He then became the Rajasthan Congress Party President at the age of 36. He even became the deputy Chief Minister at the age of 40. He is now becoming greedy and wants to achieve more in a shorter span of time.
5. And finally, it is argued that if Sachin Pilot has no links with the BJP, and he has no interest in joining the BJP. Then why did he choose Harish Salve to represent them in the High court? He is a lawyer who is believed to be pro-BJP. He was the top NDA lawyer in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and he has fought a number of cases in favor of BJP.
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Here, I’d like to ask you- What do you think?
Who is right and who is being greedy- Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot?
So let us wait and watch- If Sachin Pilot forms a new party, then he would earn more respect as he is trying to construct a new path. But he would lack respect, if he joins the BJP. As quit from a party and join another with a completely different ideology just shows that he lusts for power and money and has no ideology of his own.
As far as the disagreements and internal party politics is concerned, they are extremely common in my opinion. As disagreements between huge leaders is there in every party. And this plays the major role in filling the loop holes of the party.
Do answer below in comments section for above questions and what you personally think could have been a respectful manner of solving the ongoing conflict.