The political drama unfolding in Rajasthan due to the sudden semi-defection of Sachin Pilot, causing severe turbulence to the Congress party’s government in the state, has become one of the most-discussed topics in the country. Though Pilot, allegedly aided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), couldn’t rock the boat of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who enjoys the trust of the Congress party’s high command and a majority of legislative assembly members (MLAs), he has forced many of his loyal MLAs to remain in an oscillating state to keep the Rajasthan political crisis on.
So far, Gehlot has managed to stop the juggernaut of the BJP’s “Operation Lotus”, the leitmotif used for usurping power in Congress party-ruled states by buying MLAs. But how long can Rajasthan, where the BJP’s loss in December 2018 was considered as a wound for Modi and is closest-associate Amit Shah, can prevent the inevitable? From Goa, Manipur, Karnataka to Madhya Pradesh, the Congress party has been losing states to the BJP incessantly even after scoring better than the saffron party in polls, as the latter is cunningly using its money power and grip over the state machinery and judiciary to topple elected governments.
Pilot has been one of the princelings of the Congress party, where feudal dynastic leadership model is followed and was one of the closest aides of the Gandhi family. Congress insiders say Pilot was even a choice for the party’s top-brass to take the reins of the party after Rahul Gandhi resigned from the top post following the 2019 Lok Sabha election debacle. Such a political acrobatic stunt by Pilot, who was honoured with the specially-carved deputy chief minister’s position in Rajasthan after the veteran Gehlot was elected as the party’s legislative leader in December 2018, highlights the vulnerability of defections in all ranks and files of the Congress party due to its sheer ideological bankruptcy.
From Jyotiraditya Scindia to Sachin Pilot, the Congress party’s tryst with such dynasts didn’t pay well. Ideologically, both leaders of the right-wing party, have supported the BJP on core ideological issues. In this article, it was discussed why the Congress party’s victory in 2018 Rajasthan Assembly election wasn’t a victory of democracy and secularism against Hindutva fascism. Gehlot’s regime is hardly different from the erstwhile BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje. Pilot’s succumbing to the lucrative bait dangled by the BJP shows that he had no commitment towards the so-called “liberal” and “secular” values that the Congress tom-tom about.
The Rajasthan political crisis isn’t over. Though Gehlot has closed the doors on Pilot and the Congress high command in New Delhi is trying to retain the last state where it’s ruling on its own, the eerie scope for a large-scale defection of MLAs, who will gulp the bait of a huge amount from the BJP, as their counterparts did in Karnataka or Madhya Pradesh, will remain hanging like Damocles sword on the ruling party.
By vociferously advocating for a “Congress-mukt Bharat” (Congress-free India), Modi and Shah are on a Congress-acquisition spree as they are buying MLAs and prominent Congress leaders using lucrative baits, intimidation and political pressure. The BJP is soon going to have more former Congress leaders in its ranks, than its own men.
There is no stopping for the BJP as it has ideological, financial, governmental and organisational superiority against a fractured, disarrayed and waning Congress party. It’s only a matter of time that the present Rajasthan political crisis will pave way for a bigger opportunity for the BJP. This will prove how ineffective the Congress party is as an organisation to counter the BJP and Hindutva fascism, and why it’s imperative to look beyond the Congress party, and its accomplices, to fight and defeat Hindutva fascism effectively.