Sachin Pilot grounded by Congress

Divested of top political posts in Rajasthan, will Pilot join the BJP, or launch his own political party?


Shifting sands of Rajasthan politics, have paused, perhaps temporarily, as Sachin Pilot, now former Deputy Chief Minister of the state has been shown the exit door by his political bosses. Pilot, who openly rebelled against the Congress party , has also been sacked from his post as the head of the Congress in the state.

The move obviously must not have been a surprise to Pilot as he had rejected the last minute offers of reconciliation from the party. Of course the first thing he did, like most political rebels before him,  was to take to social media and change his bio. It now reads “MLA from Tonk| Former Minister of IT, Telecom & Corporate affairs,GoI |Commissioned officer Territorial Army.”

He also posted a dramatic one liner that translates as “the truth can be troubled/ disturbed, not defeated.”


While the sacking saved him the trouble of sending a resignation, the Congress also wasted no time in appointing Govind Singh Dotasra as the Rajasthan Congress chief. The announcement was made, with a change of tone to authoritarian from yesterday’s empathic one, as spokesperson Randeen Singh Surjewala announced: “I regret that Sachin Pilot and some of his associates have been swayed by BJP’s plot and are now conspiring to topple the Congress government elected by eight crore Rajasthanis. It is unacceptable.”


As is protocol, Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot went to the state  Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor and seek that Pilot and  Ramesh Meena and Vishvendra Singh, the two other ministers who the party sacked, be dropped from his cabinet. According to news reports, in its second meeting in two days, the Congress legislature party, also passed a resolution seeking action against the rebel leaders to send a “strong message” across its rank and file.

The Congress is no longer pretending to be polite,  and has accused Pilot of “colluding” with the Bharatiya Janata party, to “ destabilise the Ashok Gehlot led Congress government in the state.” Surjewala even said that the ‘rebel’ MLAs were hosted in a five star hotel in Gurgaon, Haryana, which is a BJP governed state. Surjewala said Pilot did not heed all the invites extended to come and resolve the issues and hence the decision to remove him, and the two ministers who supported him from their posts. Their behaviour was “unacceptable” to the party.

It doesn’t seem that Pilot will have any choice but to leave the party. Though it is not yet known if he will join the Bharatiya Janata Party like his good friend Jyotiraditya Scindia did in Madhya Pradesh under almost similar circumstances. The other option is for Pilot to launch his own party. In any case the road ahead for the political and heir to the legacy of Rajesh Pilot is a tough one. Though he does have others in the extended family who may offer counsel if asked. His father in law Farooq Abdullah, and brother in law Omar Abdullah are both senior politicians and have always been known to express their political opinions loud and clear.

It was not a surprise that Pilot and his supporting ministers were sacked  a day after the CLP resolution demanded strict disciplinary proceedings against “any office bearers or CLP members who work to weaken the party and its government.”  few must have expected a miracle that Pilot would be calmed down after speaking to party leaders he is said to be close to, such Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in the last two days. 

Surjewala also reminded everyone that Pilot had been groomed and supported by when he was a young politician just starting out. “He was made a minister at the centre in his 30s, a state unit chief and then the Deputy CM when he was just 40. This meant he enjoyed the affections of both top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. But Sachin Pilot and his supporters have preferred to fall into the trap laid by the BJP,” said Surjewala.

Of course Pilot’s  close friends in the Congress such as Jitin Prasada are understandably upset at the developments. “Sachin Pilot is not just a colleague but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this…,” he posted 


Now, Rajasthan education minister Govind Dotasra has his work cut out for him as the new state Congress president. But it is  Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who seems to have the last word here so far. He is quoted as saying: “there is nothing in the hands of Sachin Pilot. He is playing into the hands of BJP which is making all the arrangements.”


However, there is already talk that a number of other ‘youth’ leaders from Rajasthan may follow Pilot if he chooses to leave Congress tomorrow. And while his future in the Congress seems to be grounded forever, Sachin Pilot will now have to take one of the most crucial decisions of his life. His next decision, will then decide the course of his future in Indian politics. Will he join the BJP? Or will he launch his own political party? It is perhaps a matter of a few hours for the choice to become public.




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