It has been three and a half years since the formation of the Congress government in Rajasthan but since Day 1 of the government formation, there have been rumours of a leadership change.
The opposition is adding fuel to the fire and is leaving no stone unturned to cash in on the situation. However, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is giving a tough fight to the Opposition and hence ‘Operation Lotus’ has failed to yield results here so far.
However, the feuds between Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot’s camps have been going on unchecked since December 2018 when the government was formed.
Ever since Gehlot was sworn in as the CM, the Pilot camp has been unhappy and dissatisfied and hence a cold war is being seen between the two camps.
In fact, Pilot had done the ground work to bring the Congress back in Rajasthan and was projected as the CM face. However, Gehlot was announced as the CM while Pilot was anointed the deputy CM. Since then, there has been discontent in the Pilot camp.
Amid this discontent, Pilot rebelled against the state leadership in 2020 and went to Manesar with 18 MLAs. He announced that the state government was now in a minority. However, Gehlot managed to save his government from being toppled. Pilot’s deputy CM tag and cabinet portfolio were snatched away and presently he is simply the MLA from Tonk which has further widened the differences between the two. While the central leadership has formed a committee to look into Pilot’s grievances, nothing has been done to assuage them.
Since then, the BJP has got the chance to accuse the government of being a divided house.
“The state government is in a shambles and the CM is focusing to save it from being toppled. In his efforts to manage his MLAs the CM has ignored crucial issues. Now crime against women, corruption and unemployment have increased indicating poor governance as Rajasthan as a state stands on top in all these parameters,” said Satish Poonia, BJP state president.
Meanwhile, UPA Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha on his recent visit to Jaipur yet again sparked a controversy after cautioning Gehlot about ‘Operation Lotus 2’ looming over the state government.
Sinha expressed his apprehension that there is a conspiracy to topple the government again in Rajasthan.
Sinha said, “Constant caution needs to be observed; they can attack the government any time and hence they are advised to beware of a conspiracy.”
Gehlot has been accusing the BJP of buying MLAs at wholesale prices.
He said, “Governments are being toppled all over where the BJP is not in power, I would like to ask the Prime Minister and Amit Shah ji, from where did you get this new formula? You started buying MLAs at wholesale prices.”
“Earlier, we used to hear that only a few people used to go, now 50 people went directly in Maharashtra at wholesale prices. You might think that a new formula has been found which was implemented in Goa, Manipur, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, but Rajasthan was saved by your blessings.”
The Chief Minister recalled the political crisis in Rajasthan and said, “There was no scope left for the government to work as the toppling exercise was complete, However, our people understood. I am grateful to all those who understood and saved our government from being toppled.”
While Gehlot is seen thanking his MLAs and the public for trusting him and his government, the BJP is continuously attacking the CM and counting his failures.
The party has been recalling how the Gehlot government spent months in hotels fearing their MLAs will shift their loyalty and have quoted this as a major reason for poor governance.
Speaking in the wake of the Udaipur killing, Poonia said: “Due to the differences and contradictions of the Congress government, not only the development work of the state has come to a standstill, but the law and order and intelligence has also become a complete failure.”
He added: “Chief Minister Gehlot is completely unsuccessful in giving security to the people, sisters and daughters of the state, and due to this, the state is not only suffering from the mafia, but in three and a half years of Congress’s misrule, the politics of appeasement of the Chief Minister and the Home Minister have made this state a haven for terrorists.”
Meanwhile, yet again there is speculation about a cabinet reshuffle in the state after the presidential polls, yet again the Pilot camp is terming it as a leadership shuffle buoyed by the fact that their leader’s patience was praised by Rahul Gandhi recently in Delhi.