Eastern Rajasthan has become a pain in the neck both for the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP these days, as dissenting leaders from both parties attempt to bolster their respective camps in this region of the desert state that has been battling a leadership crisis for close to three decades.
Recently, former CM Sachin Pilot began organising kisaan mahapanchayats in this belt, attracting huge crowds. The first of such mahapanchayats was organised in Dausa while the second was held in Bharatpur on Tuesday which again drew a huge gathering.
What raised eyebrows of political observers was Pilot loyalist Vishvendra Singh’ tweet which referred to Pilot as the ‘deputy chief minister’ of Rajasthan. Pilot had been stripped of the deputy CM portfolio in July last year when he staged a rebellion against the state leadership.
Vishvendra said in his tweet, “Deputy Chief Minister of the state @SachinPilot addressed the farmers and lodged a protest against the three agrarian black laws brought by the BJP at the Kisan Mahapanchayat organised at Fatehgiri Maharaj Ji in Jaisora, Bharatpur.”
In another tweet, he mentioned about other Pilot loyalists who also marked their presence at the gathering.
“This gathering also includes former cabinet minister Ramesh Meena, MLA Ved Prakash Solanki, Gajraj Khatana, Amar Singh Jatav and Rajesh Pareek,” he tweeted.
All of these leaders are perceived as staunch supporters of Pilot, ever since the rebellion last year.
Several social media users reminded Vishvendra that Pilot is not deputy CM any longer, but he did not remove the tweet. Vishvendra, along with Ramesh Meena, were also stripped of their cabinet portfolios as a penalty for supporting Pilot.
These days, Vishvendra, in his social media profile, does not mention ‘Congress’ and introduces himself as Rajasthan worker, MLA from Deeg-Kumher, 6 times MP/MLA and ex cabinet minister, Rajasthan government.
With Pilot and his team seemingly busy in a show of strength, the other faction of the Congress is quietly monitoring the situation.
Similarly, BJP is also keeping an eye on the silent dissent of their firebrand leader, former CM Vasundhara Raje, who is reportedly making preparations to start a ‘Power Yatra’ from Krishna Temple in Bharatpur on her birthday, International Women’s Day. Her loyalists are preparing to make this yatra look grand to ensure Raje emerges as the strongest leader in the state.
The BJP has been lying low in this belt with no clear strong face discernible here. So, Raje is trying to cash in on the situation and build her own leadership while ignoring the present BJP leadership in the state. She missed the core committee’s meeting and BJP MLAs meet on Tuesday before the start of the assembly session, a BJP worker pointed out.
Even on the Team Vasundhara Raje 2023 Facebook page, clear announcements have been made regarding the Power Yatra to be taken by Raje on her birthday.
Now, political observers are waiting to see whether waves of change emerge from Eastern Rajasthan which comprises Bharatpur, Dausa, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur, among other districts.
Earlier, two leaders from this belt were prominent on the state’s political horizon. These were former CM Jagannath Pahadia, who served as CM from June 6 1980 to July 14 1981 and Rajesh Pilot, who became a renowned farmer leader from Dausa after starting his political career from Bharatpur.
While Pahadia was the first Dalit from Rajasthan to hold the CM’s position and served as a member of the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th Lok Sabha from Sawai Madhopur Lok Sabha Constituency, Pilot won the 1980 Lok Sabha elections from Bharatpur, the 1984 polls from Dausa and served as Union minister with different portfolios.
Since Rajesh Pilot’s death in 2000, the eastern belt has been missing a strong leader and the new political equations might see the rise of a new face. In the present circumstances it could prove to be a headache for both the BJP and the Congress.