As BJP Makes Gains in Local Body Polls in Rajasthan, is Cong Heading Towards Fresh Gehlot Pilot Turf War?

As BJP Makes Gains in Local Body Polls in Rajasthan, is Cong Heading Towards Fresh Gehlot Pilot Turf War?

GANDHINAGER, WNS: Even the smallest of elections has its political story to tell. The recent results of the panchayat samiti and zilla parishad in Rajasthan could have some implications for the Congress in the state and more so on the tug-of-war between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot.

In the panchayat samiti, the BJP has so far won 1,836 seats while the ruling Congress won 1,718. In zilla parishad, the BJP got 323 seats while Congress won 246. The BJP has already hailed the result as an endorsement for farm bills. Party leader Amit Malviya tweeted to say: “This is nothing but endorsement of the new farm laws. Will Congress read the writing on the wall?”

While the BJP will use these results to score political points against the Congress at a time when farmers are protesting, it’s the Congress in the state which has a reason to be a bit worried. Could this have a bearing on the Gehlot-Sachin pilot tug of war? Will this be used as a weapon by Pilot’s supporters to show to the high command that Gehlot is not that invincible as his supporters make him out to be?

Just a few days ago, Gehlot had said that the BJP was trying to topple his government. Some in Delhi saw this as an attempt by the chief minister to tell the high command that he was needed in Jaipur and if they were planning to bring him to Delhi after Ahmed Patel’s demise to handle party affairs, it would be at risk of losing the government in Rajasthan.

While Gehlot’s supporters are dismissive of the results, saying they were needlessly being magnified and infighting within Congress propelled by Pilot and his supporters is to be blamed, Pilot’s supporters say that Gehlot’s inability to take everyone along is the reason why the BJP has gained.

In the last three months since the rebellion, there has been not much headway. The committee set up by Sonia Gandhi to deal with the matter has met a handful of times with little or no forward movement. Even the expected cabinet reshuffle to accommodate some of Pilot’s supporters has not happened. Recently, state incharge Ajay Maken said a new PCC would be formed by year-end, but Pilot’s supporters have little hope of their representation.

With the impatience increasing and the results, however small, the Pilot camp is planning to approach the central leadership to say that a delay in solving matters would make things worse and the BJP would make headway.

They have cited the recent results of Hyderabad municipal corporation where the BJP has moved from 4 to 48 seats. Pilot’s supporters point out that no result should be overlooked, given the BJP’s record in spinning narrative from it. Patel had manage to keep the lid on the fight between the two after the rebellion had subsided. He had managed to buy time. But with him gone, things are likely to heat up soon. And these panchayat and zilla results could be the latest trigger in the renewed war between Gehlot and Pilot.

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