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

The tumult in Rajasthan Congress refuses to die down. The latest hullabaloo has been caused by a tweet from Acharya Pramod Krishnam giving his blessings to former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot to become the chief minister.

Pilot is, these days, holding ‘kisan sammelans’ in eastern Rajasthan, ostensibly as part of the Congress effort to reach out to farmers who are agitating against the central farm laws.

Enthused by the huge turnouts at the meetings, the Pilot camp is pushing this as an indication of Pilot’s continued popularity despite attempts by the Gehlot camp to sideline him.

Former minister and Pilot confidant Vishvendra Singh put out several tweets of the Jasora meet. In one tweet, he said, “Bharatpur and Dausa is where it all starts from in Eastern Rajasthan.”

In another tweet, he referred to Pilot as deputy chief minister though Pilot was divested of his post after the rebellion he led against chief minister Ashok Gehlot last year. “Addressed farmers at a kisan mahapanchayat in Jasora, Bharatpur along with deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and lodged our protest against the three farm black laws brought in by the BJP,” he wrote.

He added that former cabinet minister Ramesh Meena, MLA Ved Prakash Solanki, Garjraj Khatana, Amar Singh Jatav and Rakesh Pareek were present at the meeting. All these leaders are seen as staunch Pilot supporters.

Pilot began the farmer meet from Dausa on February 5 which also saw a good turnout. He is slated to hold another meet in Kotkhavda town in Jaipur district on February 17.

All the meetings are taking place in areas where MLAs belong to the Pilot camp. Vishvendra Singh is MLA from Deeg-Kumher in Bharatpur district, Murari Lal Meena is MLA from Dausa and Ved Prakash Solanki is MLA from Chaksu in Jaipur district.

Moreover, other local Congress leaders have maintained a distance from these gatherings giving momentum to the speculation of a rift in the Congress which is becoming more and more apparent.

However, analysts say while Pilot might be flexing his muscles as a signal to the party leadership, by confining himself to eastern Rajasthan, which is a Gurjar dominated area, Pilot runs the risk of being seen as a Gurjar leader.

Pilot had shared a photo on Twitter of himself addressing a mammoth meeting in Jasaur village in Bharaptur district. Replying to Pilot’s tweet, Krishnam wrote ‘mukhyamantri bhava’.

This is being interpreted in political circles as Acharya Krishnam’s open blessings for Sachin Pilot to become chief minister of Rajasthan.

The tweet has not gone down well with loyalists of chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The Gehlot camp views Pilot’s meetings as an attempt to show his strength and rally public support. Congress insiders say the large turnout in the meetings is creating discomfort in the Gehlot camp.

On Tuesday, Gehlot had put out a video message for the Congress’s ‘Join Congress Social Media campaign’, in which he said the youth should come forward and take part in the campaign and put the correct picture before the public. “We can put our views before the public through social media which is much needed at a time when the media is under pressure.

Replying to Gehlot’s social media message on twitter, Acharya Krishnam asked “Is your indication towards Sachin Pilot?”

In a recent interview, Krishnam who is considered close to AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi, had said the Gehlot should give an opportunity to younger leaders to come up.

The political cold war between Pilot and Gehlot has shown no signs of waning despite attempts by the party high command to broker peace. However, the situation is simmering below the surface, say party insiders.

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