On May 29, the Congress leadership brought two warring leaders -- Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot -- for a smiling photo-op after a four-hour-long meeting ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled later this year.
Yet, many party insiders believe that the job is yet to be done as no peace proposal has been shared with them.On May 29, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal came out from the residence of party chief Mallikarjun Kharge along with Gehlot, Pilot, and Rajasthan in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.
Venugopal addressed the media saying both have presented their views before the party leadership and have decided to contest the Assembly elections unitedly.However, when asked about the proposal, he said, "They have left it with the party leadership."
The meeting at the residence of Kharge took place in the presence of former party chief Rahul Gandhi. After bringing the truce, Rahul Gandhi left for the US, where he is participating in several programmes.However, according to party sources, the truce brought by the senior leaders without a proposal or formula has left both the camps in a state of confusion.
Pilot, after returning to Rajasthan from the national capital, said on Wednesday during his visit to his Assembly seat in Tonk that action needs to be taken on the issues that he had raised, particularly on corruption in the previous BJP rule.
By pitching for his demands, Pilot has made clear that all is not well in the desert state, where the two senior leaders have been hitting at each other for the last three years.A source said that both Pilot and Gehlot are waiting for Rahul Gandhi's return from the US as the proposal of truce is yet to be shared.
The source said that Congress agrees to the fact that both the leaders are assets for the party in the state, and losing any of them will be a catastrophe ahead of the Assembly elections."Meanwhile, the party also does not to experiment like Punjab where it replaced Chief Minister Amarinder Singh with Charanjit SIngh Channi, which turned out to be a disaster for the party in the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections," the source said.
In such a scenario, the source said, Pilot may be given some major role in the party, as he was removed as the state unit chief and as Deputy Chief Minister following his revolt in 2020.The source said that the Congress knows the importance of Pilot as he is the person who worked tirelessly on the ground as the state unit chief ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls and brought the party to power with his continuous efforts.
Thus, giving more power to Pilot ahead of the Assembly elections will only strengthen the party's hopes in the state, while Gehlot has already launched several pro-people schemes, the source said.The source also said that the party is planning to give more say to Pilot in ticket distribution for the upcoming state polls so that anti-incumbency against the sitting MLAs can be dealt.
Meanwhile, the source further said that the party also may agree to a few of the demands of Pilot and the Gehlot government may order some action on Pilot's complaints about the charges of corruption against the then BJP government led by Vasundhra Raje.
Thus, Pilot's ultimatum to the party will also be dealt, the source indicated.However, the Congress leadership is yet to communicate with the two leaders about its decision. The source said that neither Kharge nor Venugopal after the meeting communicated with the two leaders to chalk out the strategy.
The source said that both the leaders are likely to discuss the issue with Rahul Gandhi, who on May 29 night assured both the leaders of respect and having a say in the party.In the run up to Assembly elections, the Congress-led Gehlot government earlier this week announced to give 100 units of free electricity.
The Chief Minister has also launched several pro-people schemes like providing LPG cylinders for Rs 500 in the state, health insurance up to Rs 25 lakh, among many others.