The top leadership of the Congress, emboldened by the change of guard in Punjab, has now begun work on Rajasthan. While an internal survey says that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot enjoys support of most of his MLAs, the central leadership feels this could change closer to the assembly elections.
In Punjab, the Congress dragged its feet because Captain Amarinder Singh initially had the support of a majority of his MALS even though complaints kept reaching Delhi of unfulfilled promises, inaacessibity of the CM and an apprehension that they could lose because of a laidback chief minister.
But over time, the MLAs began to desert Amrinder, thus making the planned coup easy to implement.
In Rajasthan, things are somewhat different. An astute politician like Ashok Gehlot is aware that he needs to stay in touch with his MLAs. Specially after the ‘rebellion’ by his former deputy Sachin pilot and his supporters. Not one to take things lying down, Gehlot has decided to woo even those who are his dissenters.
Sourcs say, however, that the central leadership is now upset that the reshuffle is being deferred longer than necessary. A state in-charge who engineered the coup in Punjab and now will oversee the smooth changes in the desert state told CNN-News18, “The CM was ill and therefore we couldn’t go ahead with it earlier. But it’s pitru paksh now and it is not considered very auspicious, so we will now do it after that passes."
Pilot to come out flying
Rahul Gandhi recently held a one-on-one meeting with Pilot and discussed the pending issues. For the central leadership, it’s easier and also a pressing matter to effect changes in Rajasthan. “No one is talking of changing the CM immediately. Secondy, Pilot has been silent and has not made any out-of-the lin- statements. But now, pressure is mounting on him also as his supporters are getting restless given that the wait to be accommodated has been long," a top party source told CNN-News18.
Sources say that the top leadership is now looking for a central role for Pilot and is also considering the possibility of making him in charge of Gujarat till Rajasthan sees more changes ahead of polls.