Rajasthan Political Crisis
Pilot vs Gehlot
Sachin Pilot vs Ashok Gehlot - Rajasthan Political " Game of thrones."
Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot, who is greedy for power and who is right in this case?
Will the government in Rajasthan be able to stay or will it fail?
Is there an attempt to poach MLA's here?
The story is not as simple as it sounds, let's go though it.
When Congress won election in 2018
Ever since the Congress won the state elections in 2018, it had be a subject of discussion, who should be Chief Minister - Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot?
Most of the young people in the country were in favour of Sachin Pilot because he is a youth leader but Congress chose Ashok Gehlot. They might have had their own internal reasons, Ashok Gehlot was elder and a more experienced politician in this case. A similar situation happened in Madhya Pradesh - between Scindhia and Kamal Nath and Congress made Kamal Nath the Chief Minister. There was a division between the old guard and the young brigade in the Congress right from the start.
Especially, in Rajasthan, it is said that MLAs more in favour of Sachin Pilot were divided from the MLAs that favoured Ashok Gehlot more. There was a distrust amongst them and both the factions did not trust one another. This distrust surfaced when the Congress Party had won the elections. Back then, Rahul Gandhi had also got both of them photographed together with him to display that the differences between both of them had been resolved and they were both working together but two years down, today, it had become clear that those difference had never been resolved. They had in fact, been escalating and have reached this point today.
Rajasthan Crisis - July 11th 2020
This controversy started on July 11th when the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot alleged that BJP was offering their MLAs a price of 25 crores per MLA to switch parties and cause the government to fail, this does not sound too surprising because similar allegations wee heard in the case of both Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
When Kumaraswamy was the Chief Minister in Karnataka, he alleged that BJP was offering their MLAs a price of 20 crores per MLA, so that their government would fail. As a proof, he had even released audio tapes of it and the same thing happened some months later around 16-17 MLAs switched parties, their government fell and the BJP then formed the government in Karnataka.
A similar thing happened in Madhya Pradesh, when Kamal Nath alleged that BJP was offering 20-30 crores to their MLAs to switch parties, the exact thing happened some months later - some MLAs switched parties, their government fell and the BJP then formed the government.
So, it wold not come off as a surprise if the BJP is trying to do the same thing in this case but it would be an incomplete story if viewed from only the BJP angle because the internal politics within the Congress also plays a huge role in this case.
On 11th July, the special operations group of Rajasthan arrested two people with links to the BJP on charge of bribing the Congress politicians. On same day, notices were sent to Sachin Pilot and other MLAs by the Rajasthan police to record their statements regarding this charge. It is said that due to this reason and some other reasons in the past which will be covered later in this article, Sachin Pilot got miffed and he went to Haryana along with 10-15 MLAs who supported him. He made these MLAs stay in a hotel.
After that, speculations arose that Sachin Pilot would meet with BJP president, J P Nadda and he would join the BJP very soon but that did not happen. In fact, Sachin Pilot said that he has no interest in joining the BJP. On 12th July, Ashok Gehlot convened a party meeting to show solidarity and to show the number of MLAs that supported him. He said that there are around 109 MLAs that stand in support of him. Sachin Pilot camp said that there are around 30MLAs that are in his support and they can cause the government to fail.
101 MLA seats are the majority mark in Rajasthan and how many independent MLAs and the remaining party MLAs support Ashok Gehlot government, and the same will determine whether the government will continue or not.
After this, Rajasthan Congress convened a legislature meeting for its MLA on 13th July'2020 and warned of a disciplinary action against the MLA that did not show up. Sachin Pilot and the MLAs that support him did not turn up for the meeting. After that on 14th July'2020 Congress Party called for another meeting, Sachin Pilot and MLAs those who support him did not turn up for this meeting too.
Sachin Pilot was stripped off the post of Deputy Chief Minister for repeatedly ignoring the meting summons. He was also removed from the post of President for the Congress Party for Rajasthan. Along with that, the MLAs that supported him, who were ministers in the Rajasthan Government, were also sacked from the post of ministers. After that, Speaker of Rajasthan served a notice to around 19 MLAs of the Congress, who were in support of Sachin Pilot and asked them why they should not be disqualified as they were not responding to party summons. This notice was sent under the anti defection law, which can lead to the disqualification of these MLAs. Subsequently, Sachin Pilot cam out in the public and said that he had no interest in joining the BJP and that he is not joining BJP. Then, Sachin Pilot and his supporting MLAs challenged this notice in High Court, that it would be wrong to disqualify them as they have done nothing wrong
WHO WANTS WHAT ?
The fact of the matter is that Sachin Pilot and MLAs that support him do not want to be disqualified. Why don't they want to be disqualified? Because the rule says that if an MLA gets disqualified, then they cannot become a minister in the government until they win an election again. The same happened in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the MLAs that were allegedly "bought over" by the BJP, had resigned on their own, they could then easily become minister in the new government even if fresh elections had not been held.
Viewed from the perspective of Ashok Gehlot, he'd definitely want the 19 MLAs to be disqualified. Why? Because if they are disqualified, then the strength of the Rajasthan assembly would fall from 200 to 181. The strength of Congress would fall from 107 to 88 but with a strength of 181, the majority mark would be at 91, 88 is not that far away from 91. Congress would need the support of only 3 more MLAs be it independent MLAs or MLAs of some other party in order to save their government but if these MLAs do not get disqualified and if Ashok Gehlot government is asked to prove their majority, during which these 19 MLAs vote against the Congress, then the government would fall. Although doing this would get them disqualified, but their vote would still be counted and taking their votes into count would mean that the government has fallen. Then, in both cases - whether they get disqualified or resign on their own, a re-election for those would anyway have to be conducted but the fact is - until those re-elections are conducted, who would form the government here? (Rajasthan).
If the 19 MLAs of Congress vote in favour of BJP, then BJP's total strength would become 72 + 19 +3 (BJP ALLIES) = 94 and the strength of Congress would fall down to 88, it would depend on the rest of the 13 independent MLAs whether BJP would take lead or the Congress would and who would form the government there. Don't know how much money would be offered again and what else would be done.
So, Overall, this is the reason why Ashok Gehlot would want the MLAs to be disqualified and these MLAs would try their best to not be disqualified, a case has been ongoing in the High Court regarding this.
SACHIN PILOT vs ASHOK GEHLOT
This entire controversy raises a question - who is right here? Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot ? Who, in this case is greedy for power and who rightly deserves it?
There is one faction of people who favour Sachin Pilot and there is another faction of people who favour Ashok Gehlot. Let us see what the arguments are from both sides "
1. Those in favour of Sachin Pilot say that he was responsible of the revival of Congress in Rajasthan - In 2013, Congress had faced one of the worst defeats in Rajasthan. After that, Sachin Pilot built up the party and set up the organization in order to ensure victory.
2. Also, several famous journalists and four Congress functionaries have said that Sachin Pilot was baited by Ashok Gehlot - This entire crisis has been started by Ashok Gehlot to remove Sachin Pilot from his way and to ensure that this problem never crops up again and his power is never challenged again. To bait Sachin Pilot, he had got the Rajasthan police to send him a notice and this "Triggered" Sachin Pilot.
3. It is also said that over the one and half years, Sachin Pilot has been neglected by the Ashok Gehlot government and that he was kept away from then helm of affairs - In the COVID 19 crisis, Sachin Pilot was not involved despite being the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and when the government of Rajasthan released a booklet of its one0year achievements, it did not have any mention of Sachin Pilot.
Those in favour of Ashok Gehlot say that when Congress won the election in Rajasthan in 2018, the idea that Sachin Pilot was responsible for the victory is a rumor. That was not so in reality. In reality, voter change the government every five years in Rajasthan. The government was set to change anyway. Sachin Pilot didn't have as big role as portrayed by the media.
There is also speculation that BJP, especially Amit Shah wanted Vasundhara Raje out of his way because he does not want any competitor against him for the post of Prime Minister and Vasundhara Raje was a Chief Minister who did not pay heed to the central command ( Modi and Amit Shah).
The third argument is that the idea that Sachin Pilot was baited by Ashok Gehlot is not true because the Rajasthan police had actually intercepted audio in which there were conversations of the BJP trying to bribe and the proof that offers were being made to MLAs exists. Two people were even arrested, so that is true then.
Dom people even argue that Sachin Pilot was getting too greedy because Congress Party let him become an MP at the age f 26, Union Minister at the age of 32 the, Rajasthan Congress Party President at the age of 36 and at the age of 40 he became Deputy Chief Minister. He is now becoming greedy and wants to achieve more in a shorter span of time.
Finally, it is argued that if Sachin Pilot has no links with BJP, and he has no interest in joining the BJP, then why did he choose Harish Salve to represent them in the High Court? He is a lawyer who is believed to be pro-BJP. He was the top NDA lawyer in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and he has fought a number of cases in favor of BJP.
Here, I'd like to ask you - What do you think? Who is right and who id being greedy - Sachin Pilot or Ashok Gehlot?
In my opinion one thing is clear - we do not know the result of it yet but let us wait and watch - If Sachin Pilot forms a new party, then he would earn my respect that he is wanting to tread on a new path.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Ramesh Polisetty