New Delshi: Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot is said to have refused the post of the Congress general secretary in-charge of Madhya Pradesh as he wanted to stay put in Rajasthan for the upcoming assembly elections.
Pilot was offered the post to ensure that peace prevailed in the Rajasthan Congress following an assessment that the continued tussle between him and chief minister Ashok Gehlot was hurting the party’s poll prospects.
However, Pilot refused the offer, insisting that he would like to stay put in Rajasthan and work for the party in the upcoming assembly elections.
The peace formula was proposed by Madhya Pradesh Congress president and former chief minister Kamal Nath who was requested by the party high command to mediate in the matter.
Apparently, Nath was dissatisfied with the functioning of party in-charge Jai Prakash Agarwal and wanted him out of the state as soon as possible.
That way, the leadership could have ensured smooth functioning of the party in both the poll-bound states.
Rajasthan along with Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram are going to polls in November-December this year.
Since a general secretary is an ex-officio member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Pilot would automatically have been a member of the highest decision-making body of the party.
But Pilot understood that he was being eased out of Rajasthan and hence rejected the offer.
While the Congress leadership refused to change Agarwal at this juncture, it rushed general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala as the senior election observer to Madhya Pradesh. However, his role is said to be restricted to media management and he will have no say in the ticket distribution given that his name does not figure in the screening committee, a panel that shortlists party candidates for assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
As a way out now, the Congress high command is mulling the option of naming Pilot the head of the campaign committee but that depends largely on Gehlot’s willingness to accommodate his detractor.
If Gehlot vetoes Pilot’s name, the party is likely to see another confrontation in Rajasthan ahead of the assembly elections.
Indeed, interesting times ahead in the Rajasthan Congress.