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Rajasthan: Is Congress looking for a new CM?


Prakash Bhandari, Jaipur: Rumours are doing the round in Rajasthan that the current political impasse in the Congress may be resolved soon. The crisis caused by Sachin Pilot’s rebellion has tarnished the image of Congress.

Notably, in the last three weeks when the crisis aggravated, the party’s high command made no serious attempt to douse the fire. But now, the party’s central leadership is likely to come out with a formula to end the deadlock and restore normalcy.

BSP MLAs case

The Congress high command has been briefed about the legal situation caused because of a petition filed by the BJP MLAs Madan Dilawar. Dilawar has questioned the merger of the six BSP MLAs into Congress in September last year. The high court has sent notices to the Speaker and the six MLAs.

Legal pundits feel that when the matter will be heard on August 11, the high court may issue an interim order. The interim order might prohibit the six MLAs from voting in case of a trust vote. Even the whip issued to them by the Congress will not be effective after the court’s order.

Number game

This would create a crisis in the ruling party which currently enjoys the support of 102 members. The figure includes BTP MLAs, independent MLAs and a CPM MLA.

But if the six BSP members are prohibited from voting, it would drastically alter the number game. Moreover, the party’s leadership does not trust the two BTP members and a CPM member.

This situation has forced the party leadership to evolve measures to save the government.

Congress desperate to save government

It is learned that the high command’s paramount consideration now is to save the government and work out a formula that will be accepted by both Gehlot and Pilot.

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Gehlot showed a soft attitude a few days ago when he sent a message to the dissidents. Gehlot had said that they can come back to the party fold by apologising to the party. He also sent a feeler that his strong-worded utterings against Pilot were caused by anger. However, Pilot remains unacceptable to the chief minister.

Pilot’s conditions

Sachin Pilot has clearly stated that he is ready to return as the deputy chief minister, provided all the 19 dissidents are accommodated in the ministry. But Pilot does not want Ashok Gehlot as the chief minister.

Possibility of a new CM

The party high command has come to the conclusion that if the formula was unacceptable to both the factions, a third person will be projected as the Rajasthan chief minister to resolve the deadlock.

The party is aware that the removal of Gehlot as the chief minister would mean a horizontal split in the party. But, Sonia Gandhi may pursue Gehlot to leave Rajasthan and take over as the party’s executive president. It is a kind of position that was created when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister. At that time, Arjun Singh was made vice president of the party with executive power.

New chief minister candidates

Sachin Pilot will not be the high command’s choice as the new chief minister. The choice may fall on current Speaker CP Joshi, urban development minister Shanti Dhariwal and energy minister BD Kalla. Both Joshi and Kalla are Brahmins while Dhariwal is an Oswal Jain belonging to the vaishya community.


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