As Jitin Prasada today quit the Congress for the BJP, a name that trended briefly was that of Sachin Pilot. After Jyotiraditya Scindia and Jitin Prasada, will he be the next, questioned many on social media.
The Congress leadership has yet to deliver on its promise to address Sachin Pilot’s demands after his revolt last year. Hours after Jitin Prasad’s switch, the party had a message for Sachin Pilot.
“There has to be a turnaround time. Sachin Pilot has to be patient,” said Congress spokesperson Supriya Srinate. She pointed out that the Congress did make him the country’s youngest deputy Chief Minister.
Sachin Pilot’s rebellion against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his near-exit was ascribed to a BJP master plan to topple the Congress government in the state. He finally backed down after a meeting with the Gandhis and told the media that he had been promised a course-correction.
That has not happened so far, he reminded his party leadership in an interview on Monday.
“It has now been 10 months. I was given to understand that there would be swift action by the committee, but now half of the term is done, and those issues haven’t been resolved. It is unfortunate that so many of the party workers who worked and gave their all for getting us the mandate are not being heard,” said Mr Pilot told the Hindustan Times.
After putting it off all this time, the Congress once again finds itself facing the tough challenge of keeping both the Rajasthan Chief Minister and Mr Pilot happy.
A cabinet expansion in Rajasthan to accommodate more from the Pilot camp is one solution, assuming Mr Gehlot agrees. The demand is pending but for various reasons, the Chief Minister has been resisting it.
A three-member panel was appointed to tackle Mr Pilot’s demands but it has not met since August last, say sources. One of its members, Ahmed Patel – party chief Sonia Gandhi’s key troubleshooter – died of Covid in November.
The Congress’s Rajasthan stand-off started when Mr Pilot, along with MLAs supporting him, left Jaipur and checked into a hotel near Delhi. In the weeks that followed, Mr Gehlot and Mr Pilot each tried to win over MLAs to prep for a possible test of strength.
Mr Gehlot won the battle of nerves, claiming the support of just enough MLAs to stay in power. Mr Pilot finally announced his return to Rajasthan after the Gandhis reportedly assured him that his grievances would be addressed.