Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot
Photo by FPJ Correspondent

Amid the ongoing battle for Rajasthan, even as the Congress claims that the Ashok Gehlot government is safe, former Deputy Chief Minister and state party chief Sachin Pilot has become the third high-profile leader after Ashok Tanwar of Haryana and Jyotiraditya Scindia of Madhya Pradesh to rebel against the party.

However, as this brings to fore a generational rift in the party, the Congress cites all it has done for Pilot.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, while responding to a question at a press conference, said: "From an MP at 26 to deputy Chief minister in 40s, the party has given all the opportunities to the young leader (Pilot). But he chose to remain in the hospitality of the BJP in Haryana as the party repeatedly asked him to come back into its fold."

No head of the family will allow any member to demolish the family, she said referring to Pilot, who, despite being approached by the party, did not respond to its overtures.

While analysts feel that the central leadership is weak and is not able to keep the flock together or nobody cares for the party anymore, veteran leader B.K. Hariprasad says that there is lack of ideological commitment which is the driving force behind such rebellions. "These so-called young politicians are here to make a career but they don't have any inclination towards the party ideology," said Hariprasad.

While a party insider who is young says that all said and done, veterans have more commitment towards party rather than young ones who are out to grab power for themselves and are not bothered about the fate of the party.

The party leadership, which was keen to somehow retain Pilot, seems to have withdrawn after they were given ample proof of Pilot hobnobbing with the BJP to topple the Rajasthan government. The party has already lost two governments due to internal rebellions, first in Karnataka where the coalition government with the Janata Dal-Secular collapsed and then in Madhya Pradesh, following Scindia's rebellion.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot on Monday called Pilot 'nikamma' (useless) and 'nakara' (worthless), which, analysts say, is a well thought-out strategy to close the door permanently on Pilot. This is contrary to the style of Gehlot who is known as an astute politician who seldom uses harsh words.

Responding to this, Pilot said, "This is done solely to malign me and to stifle the legitimate concerns that I had raised against the party leadership of the state, as a member and MLA of the INC. This attempt further aims at defaming me and attacking my credibility."

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