Reported By: Pallavi Ghosh
Last Updated: November 16, 2023, 14:32 IST
There have been demands that Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot must campaign together for the polls. (PTI)
The top leaders feel that it would be easier to attack a sitting chief minister than someone who is only an MLA and carries no baggage and thus Pilot should be more visible in campaigning A handle on social networking platform X, which was created a couple of months ago to project and promote Ashok Gehlot in the election season, suddenly tweeted a picture of the Rajasthan chief minister with his former deputy Sachin Pilot and the tag ‘Rajasthan ki Jodi Number 1’.
This was followed by Rahul Gandhi saying ahead of his Churu rally: “They don’t appear to be one, they are one. We shall sweep Rajasthan.”
The optics for the two till-now-warring leaders are need-based. Of the 200 seats, the critical voters on at least 132 are in the age band of 18-39. By Congress’ internal mathematics, it’s on these seats that the top leadership and strategists felt a combined rally or show of unity would help.
There has been a demand from at least 50 candidates to make Pilot campaign. Just recently, Gopal Meena wrote a letter to state chief Govind Singh Dotasra that pilot should be deputed to campaign for him. Dotasra, while speaking to News18, said: “We would of course get Pilot to campaign more and with the chief minister. We are all one. There is no problem.”
There is another reason why the top leadership feels this would be the right time to push Pilot to campaign. The BJP has plans to step up its campaign with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking the lead. And while BJP and Congress may not announce a CM face, it seems the Grand Old Party will prop up Gehlot in case it comes to power. Hence, the focus of BJP’s attack will be on allegations of corruption against Gehlot. BJP has already begun taking potshots at Gehlot’s rallies, with Shehzad Poonawala tweeting a picture of empty chairs at the chief minister’s Ajmer rally, claiming that no crowds are coming.
The top leaders feel that it would be easier to attack a sitting chief minister than someone who is only an MLA and carries no baggage. Pilot has rarely been targeted by the BJP and so Congress feels that sending him would blunt attacks on Gehlot too. Meanwhile, even if the attacks continue against Gehlot and his son Vaibhav, the party will term it a witch-hunt.
Rahul Gandhi feels Rajasthan is doable. And just as joint shows by DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah worked in Karnataka, the party feels the formula would work in Rajasthan too. That’s why it’s important for Pilot and Gehlot to be seen ‘saath-saath’.
Pallavi GhoshPallavi Ghosh has covered politics and Parliament for 15 years, and has reported extensively on Congress, UPA-I and UPA-II, and has now included the F…Read More