Congress is being run from Tughlaq Lane and impact of it being seen by all and sundry. Rahul Gandhi wanted to convert Congress, a mass based political party, into a cadre based, democratically run machinery. The experiment failed miserably as expected in the youth congress elections in various states. After Rahul Gandhi became congress president, the party on surface seems a serene combination of old guard and Young Turks but at 24, Akbar Road, it remains the age old struggle to dominate opinion of high command and capturing the power. History tells us that Tughlaqs remained mired in their own problems and internal strife till they were replaced by the mighty Mughals.
Rahul Gandhi is getting traction in his attack on PM Narendra Modi. In a hunt, the highest flying bird is always the first target. In politics, if you are in opposition, you can easily become the voice of disgruntled. In Indian scenario, it is, anyways, not possible to satisfy all and sundry. But, whether Congress will get benefit out of such creative hard work put in by Rahul Gandhi and his team will be decided by the election results in coming assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
In Rajasthan, where hopes are high, election results will tell the worth of Tughlaq lane’s ‘leather coin’.
Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan is facing huge anti incumbency due to various issues ranging from inaccessibility, corruption, high handedness to ignoring old guard of BJP. Raje is being slowly sidelined as team of Amit Shah has taken over the BJP state organisation while RSS is now playing a dominant role in planning for the battle 2018. Amit Shah and RSS are more concerned about winning Lok Sabha seats than in assembly elections but their immediate concern is that if BJP loses assembly elections, Congress will gain LS seats which swing with whoever hold seat of power in Jaipur.
Congress is sensing a victory in Rajasthan, but it is based more on the negativity towards Vasundhara Raje government than the congress leading the election from the front. Party insiders claims that Rahul Gandhi is trying to keep reins of election in his own hand. Sources say that Sachin Pilot has been instructed to lead the congress while Ashok Gehlot has been ‘clearly’ instructed to help Sachin Pilot. Gehlot is reportedly been assured that his camp would be accommodated by Sachin Pilot in ticket distribution. But this hunky-dory arrangement is far from the ground realities of Rajasthan.
As far as the notion of accommodating Gehlot’s men is concerned, none can claim to be ‘Gehlot’s men’ in Rajasthan congress. Gehlot has pushed people in congress but he has been unlucky in getting young talented lot with right caste equation to bet on. On the street, one may never encounter any congressman claiming ticket because he is close to Gehlot, as this wily politician has never encouraged such public display. Even few of those which are branded as ‘AG’s men’ are either lack winning abilities in caste based electoral politics or are like outdated wet gun powder.
However, Sachin Pilot has taken full advantage of his post of PCC chief to create his own cult. More than a dozen aspirants are hopeful of congress ticket in districts like Ajmer, Dausa, Bharatpur, Tonk, Sikar, Jhunjhunu etc.; because they are proclaimed ‘Sachin Pilot’s’ men. If one follows the pattern of Congress’s rallies presided by Sachin Pilot, it can be easily deduced that who may have financed the rally in that particular area. Most of them are either money bags betting on Sachin Pilot but also not counting Gehlot out of game. Baran, Banswara, Sikar, Parbatsar rallies are few such example but there is much more than what meet the eyes. However, we are yet to take the ride in Audi-A4 model to Jaipur from the land which had been traditionally famous for its bulls, both – bovine and political.
But, Vasundhara Raje has declared Sachin Pilot – ‘a child in politics’ and do not consider him a worthy opponent.
Gehlot has been one loyal man of high command who has systematically destroyed all the brand names of yesteryears who could have been any challenge to authority. This could not have been possible with conscious desire of the high command in Congress. Rahul Gandhi himself concedes that Gehlot has run government in Rajasthan twice according to the ideology of the Congress. Importantly, Rajasthan has been crucible for the policy of social change which left leaning congress introduced during 1990s onwards.
Politics like society is a flowing dynamics. Generational change is imminent in politics and younger people will come to replace the old guard. But, sidelining of experienced old guard just for the sake of pushing some chocolate faced media savvy but untested young lot may prove expensive for Rahul Gandhi. Rajasthan is one crucial election he would like to win at all cost. And, not only result of assembly election but who will lead the play in 2019 general election in Rajasthan will also weigh heavy on his mind.
People in Rajasthan have made up their mind, but they would not give it away for some tuqhlaq style new ‘leather coin’ which Rahul Gandhi is trying to push in circulation. Marwaris’ are anyways not going to fall for any ‘product’ being sold in glossy packaging lest it is worth enough. Here, Vasundhara Raje is sensing an opportunity and given a chance, she would prove to be a formidable and ruthless opponent.