The political war of words seems to have started within the Congress party ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly Elections this year. This is evident after former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s dig at state Congress chief Sachin Pilot. He said that state party chiefs should focus on strengthening the party, rather than thinking of becoming the chief minister as per PTI reports.
“Koi Pradesh Congress adhyaksh banta hai, bante he paanch chhe media wale uske dost ban jate hain, us bechare ko mukhyamantri bana dete hain. Wo usi hawa mein chalta rehta hai, aur usse party ko nuksan hota hai. Mera manna hai ke ye khud ke sochne samajhne ki baat hoti hai, hum sub milke kaise Congress ko mazboot karen. (When a person become state party president, five-six mediapersons become his friends and make that poor man the [next] CM. He then starts walking with that air and that affects the party. I think this is something they should understand themselves, [they should think of] how to strengthen the party),” Gehlot was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
The Congress general secretary said he was similarly projected as the party’s candidate by the media when he was elected as the RPCC (Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee) president, but he did not fall in their “trap”. He said he was not talking only about the incumbent, but previous state party state chiefs too. “I was also told I will become the next CM but I said I have nothing like that on my mind… I said I will be glad if we assume power while I am state president, irrespective of who becomes CM.”
Ahead of the Rajasthan polls, Congress sees a divided house in the state. Even as the party high command is set to project Sachin Pilot as the chief ministerial face, former CM Ashok Gehlot’s faction continues to put forth his claim as the CM. “Ashok Gehlot deserves to be in Rajasthan, where he still has a large following instead of being made incharge of Gujarat, where he hardly holds any sway over the electorate. Though Sachin Pilot is young and doing well on the ground, he needs more time to mature as a leader and be accepted by the various communities in a state, where politics is caste dominated,” a worker from Gehlot’s camp was quoted as saying by India Today. However, Pilot has spearheaded many campaigns under the leadership of Congress President Rahul Gandhi and has been at the helm of issues like caste issues, farmers’ problems unemployment etc.