RAJASTHAN … Pilot expelled from Congress, fall of Gehlot ministry imminent

NEWS RAJASTHAN

NEW DELHI: The fall of the Congress government in Rajasthan looked imminent as t a rebellious deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and his close associates have been expelled from the party in view of the internal rebellion threatening to pull down the Ashok Gehlot-led ministry. The chief minister claims the support of 100 MLAs in a house of 200, but he is unlikely to hold on to the post.Chief Minister Gehlot held a meeting with governor Kalraj Mishra during the day, but those supporting Pilot sought an immediate floor test in the assembly, which, if held, will likely see the exit of Gehlot. The BJP is having 73 MLAs in a house of 200, where Independents held the trump card so far, they mostly backing the Gehlot Ministry. This scenario could change, and a vertical split in the Congress legislature party is likely once the BJP makes it moves to help form a new government. Pilot would want to be the chief minister in such a scenario. An assurance on this from the BJP could tilt the balance against Gehlot. It appears a Madhya Pradesh like situation is developing in Rajasthan. The rebellion by Jyotiraditya scindia and his eventual exit from the Congress there, following differences with then chief minister Kamal Nath led to the fall of the party’s government there earlier this year. The BJP, which was short of just a few seats for majority there, quickly recalled former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan to form an alternative ministry, which later accommodated a sizeable number of Scindia’s men in the new government. The problems in the Congress party which is rudderless after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and a hesitant and ailing Sonia Gandhi is acting as party interim president, are adding to the steady disintegration of the party. Young leader Rahul Gandhi is not willing to take up the post which he left after the LS polls defeat for him in Amethi and for the party at national level. Hopes among partymen that the leadership issue would be settled sooner or later have been belied so far.The Congress strategy seems to be to field party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi as the captain for the upcoming UP Assembly polls, and seek to win power with support from Brahmins, who form 10 per cent of the state’s population and Muslims some 20 per cent. A pro-Brahmin wave is sought to be built in UP after the death of Vikas Dubey, a Brahmin goon based out of eastern UP. Assembly polls in UP will take place early next year, and the results could be decisive in terms of national politics. It is projected that he was done to death in a fake encounter after his arrest from Ujjain in MP, while a team of UP police was taking by road to Kanpur on July 10. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a Thakur, is facing sharp attacks from Congress and other parties in this connection, though Dubey was among the top criminal gang leaders in the state. The aim for the Congress seems to be field Priyanka as the lead campaigner for the assembly polls, and make her chief minister if the party manages to win the elections. It could be a stepping stone for her to eventually take on PM Modi and the BJP in the next parliament polls in 2024. IHN-NN

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