New Delhi: After much speculation in the Congress of a change of Chief Minister in Rajasthan triggering a power struggle within the party, former MP Assam, Jitendra Singh, a Rajasthan leader, told The Sunday Guardian: “There is no rift between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot and the two still share a good relationship.”
Speculation started building after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held discussions with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ajay Maken, K.C. Venugopal at Rahul Gandhi’s residence in New Delhi on 16 October. Gehlot has been three-time CM in Rajasthan, making him more acquainted with the state issues and at the same time, bringing him more clout over the party and its MLAs. The Pilot camp is seen expecting more positive results in the cabinet reshuffle after the change in CM of Punjab, but Singh reiterated that “Gehlot is here to stay until the end of his term”.
Singh also refuted claims of Pilot asserting for cabinet reshuffle, and maintained that everything is fine within the party. Whether there will be a change or not, it is yet to be seen, but whether the Congress is able to resolve its internal issues peaceably and tackle “irregularities” within the party is an even more important issue for its smooth functioning in Rajasthan.
While the Pilot camp is being seen as a faction within the party trying to claim the promised cabinet shuffle, Singh scotched the rumours, saying that Ashok Gehlot is here to stay, he has got the mandate and seemingly, he is working fine in every aspect—whether it be development or pre-empting any emergency.
For now, the two camps may be struggling to reach consensus which could give an unprecedented challenge to the party heads. “Ashok Gehlot has got the mandate and also the party support to carry on with normal procedure. Now if there has to be a change, the Congress will decide when and how, it has full right to do so, it is a democratic party and can do what it feels fit for smooth functioning and peoples’ development. We don’t believe that there is anything like tyrannical in our party; sometimes, it is just that there is something minor and then it gets bigger. Gehlot and Pilot share a good relation and they still have that relation maintained. They have been to places together, campaigned together—that doesn’t go away like that in a jiffy, that has to be understood,” Singh added.
After Gehlot held a meeting with party members over challenges within the party, the Pilot camp demanded cabinet reshuffle and wanted Pilot to sit at the helm. The party may not be in a hurry in the matter as Gehlot at the helm of the government has proved his worth. A new leadership may take time to fit in into the scheme of things, with only two years left for the next elections.