Delay in Congress list suggests infighting in camps

Last Updated 22 November 2018, 10:14 IST

The Congress party may have decided to field both AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot and Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot in the assembly election in Rajasthan but it does not rule the infighting between the two leaders.

The delay in the release of candidate list clearly hints that two stalwarts are once again not on the same page, especially when it comes to building consensus over a few nominees who they wish to be included in the list. Both the leaders have often said that Congress high command and MLAs will decide their Chief Minister candidate after the party wins. Following which both Pilot and Gehlot are trying to reserve berth for their candidates, which directly will later stand for them, one of the reasons behind the delay of the list.

According to the party insiders both the leaders are trying to vouch for berths for their candidates on 20-30 respective seats from where they are sure of winning. "After BJP issued its first list, it became more clear for Congress to mark a few seats which were a sure shot victory.

But it made the process of shortlisting tough either as both leaders wanted to plant their favourable candidates from those safe constituencies which is why the list is being delayed", a senior Congress leader closely associated with the making of the list told DH.

Congress sources also reveal that senior leaders, Pilot, Gehlot and the leader of opposition Rameshwar Dudi had thrice heated arguments at AICC office in New Delhi. The nomination process has started in Rajasthan from November 12 and so far BJP has declared their 162 candidates.

Suspense over the CM candidate remains

The second road blocker for the delay in the list was the suspense over the contesting of Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. However even after the two announced that they will fight the elections, this has again created suspense over the chief ministerial candidate.

Rajasthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot told DH, "We are not even thinking about the post of chief minister. The idea is to win the elections collectively. A few things we have to leave for party high command and MLAs to decide".

However political observers see a growing infighting between the two, especially after both, have been asked to contest the polls. "Its a very tricky situation for the party as well. Gehlot is a politician the party would not want to upset especially when 2019 Lok Sabha polls are six months away. His strategies have been fruitful for Congress party in Gujarat and Karnataka elections. Similarly Pilot, who is close to Rahul has shown his potential by winning in the bypolls and remaining head of the Rajasthan Congress for last five years".

Gehlot, a two-time CM and former union minister, is a sitting MLA from Jodhpur’s Sardarpura constituency and is likely to be repeated from there.

Whereas Pilot who has never contested an assembly election before might contest from Dausa or Ajmer district. Pilot often known as a Gujjar leader in Rajasthan has been party’s Lok Sabha MP from Ajmer (2009-2014) and Dausa (2004-2009). However, there are more chances of him to contest from Dausa, his late father Rajesh Pilot's constituency. Dausa has a stronghold of Meena and Gujjar community.

(Published 15 November 2018, 12:01 IST)

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