As Assembly elections near in Rajasthan, the confusion over leadership seems to be growing for both the ruling Congress and opposition BJP in the desert state.
While former CM Vasundhara Raje is maintaining a distance from BJP’s much-talked about ‘Janakrosh Yatra’, the Congress too is battling the confusing situation arising post the September 25 (2022) incident, when MLAs from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s camp convened a parallel meeting after the Congress high command called an official meeting to decide on the leadership change issue in the state.
Due to lack of clarity from the high command of both the parties, there is confusion and tussle at the internal level of the two outfits. And its effects can be seen in the programmes and preparations of the Congress and the BJP in an election year.
The tussle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot over the CM’s chair is an open secret now, which has been going on continuously since the July 2020 rebellion by the Pilot camp.
At the same time, after the resignation politics on September 25, when 91 Congress MLAs submitted their resignation letters to the Assembly speaker, the cracks seem to have widened.
In the meantime, Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh have ended and the Bharat Jodo Yatra too has passed through Rajasthan.
But the party high command did not take any decision on the leadership issue. Even till date, no clarity has been given by the top Congress leadership to resolve the Gehlot-Pilot issue.
Senior Congress leaders have been continuously making statements, describing both Gehlot and Pilot as assets for the party.
However, none has confirmed that Gehlot shall stay as the CM till the time the state goes to the polls at the end of this year, or if Pilot can be made the Chief Minister before the elections.
Congress sources say that the party is studying the circumstances and shall take a decision accordingly.
The tussle and confusion at the upper level of Congress is affecting the leaders and workers at the lower level. In an election year, leaders are confused about asking for tickets and other responsibilities. This is because the workers still feel that the CM can change.
On the other hand, if the CM does not change, the post of state president or chairman of the campaigning committee can go to the Pilot camp.
Similarly, due to the lack of clarity regarding leadership in the BJP, the party workers at the lower level are not able to clear their mindset.
In view of the upcoming elections, there is already a lot of confusion over BJP’s CM face. Many contenders, including former CM Vasundhara Raje, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, state unit chief Satish Poonia, leader of opposition Gulabchand Kataria are in the fray for the top post.
In such a situation, it is believed that the BJP will contest the polls without announcing a CM face.
Besides the CM face, there is also no clarity in the BJP regarding the head of the state unit. The tenure of Poonia had ended in December. But despite that, neither he has been given an extension, nor has any process of election for the state president’s post has been initiated.
In such a situation, the BJP’s stand with regard to the state president’s post is not clear. However, it is believed that the situation may be cleared after the national working committee meeting of the BJP is held in Delhi on January 16-17.
Meanwhile, state BJP leaders are not very happy with Raje’s continuous absence from the party’s ‘Janakrosh Yatra’.
While BJP’s Rajasthan in-charge Arun Singh maintains that she has some personal issues due to which she cannot join the Yatra, some other party leaders told IANS, “If she doesn’t join, the party can’t stop working and it shall continue with its mission to win the polls.”