Gehlot as Amethi observer, Pilot for ‘controversial’ Kanhaiya Kumar triggers debate among Cong workers

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Gehlot as Amethi observer, Pilot for ‘controversial’ Kanhaiya Kumar triggers debate among Cong workers
Jaipur:  The rift between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot camps in Rajasthan, which started soon after the 2018 Assembly polls, seems far from over even after the completion of Lok Sabha elections in the desert state.

Now, there seems to be discontent among a section of party workers over Gehlot’s appointment as Congress poll observer for the high-profile Amethi Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. At the same time, Pilot has been given the charge of the North East Delhi seat being contested by ‘controversial’ former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.

While the Gehlot camp credits the former Chief Minister’s credibility in the Gandhi family as the reason for being appointed as the observer for Amethi, the Pilot camp says his image as a youth icon has landed him the role to mobilise the youth in Kanhaiya Kumar’s support.

Gehlot loyalists also say that the party trusts his vast political experience. Therefore he has been given the charge of Amethi. In contrast, Pilot loyalists say that he can win the trust of local party leaders who are upset over Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature from North East Delhi and is being called an “outsider”.

Congress has fielded Gandhi family loyalist, Kishori Lal Sharma, against BJP’s Smriti Irani from the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency.

Congress leader Varun Purohit says that this indicates a rift is still going on between Pilot and Gehlot.

“Gehlot seems to have been given an upper hand as he has been appointed the poll observer for Amethi, which was a crucial Lok Sabha seat held traditionally by the Gandhi family. This seat becomes crucial as Priyanka Gandhi herself has been managing the election campaign in both Raebareli and Amethi, which will give more time to Gehlot to win the trust of the Gandhi family again.”

“Moreover, Sachin Pilot is being considered as a youth icon and is yet to join the cadre of senior Congress leaders. Therefore, he has been appointed as a poll observer from a Lok Sabha constituency in Delhi where ‘controversial’ candidate Kanhaiya Kumar is contesting on a Congress ticket.”

“Pilot has been given the task to placate those Congress party workers who are upset with the candidature of Kanhaiya Kumar since they consider him an ‘outsider’. Now, one can easily say that Gehlot is still in a better political position than Pilot. Gehlot has again proved that he has vast political experience to win the trust of the Gandhi family,” Purohit says.

Meanwhile, another Congress worker on condition of anonymity told IANS: “The party is trying to depend on veteran party leaders considering their vast experience in politics. Gehlot is a senior party leader and still has the political acumen to win Lok Sabha seats. He also knows how to manage party expenses on a prestigious Lok Sabha seat and hence has been sent to Amethi.”

Sushil Asopa, former Secretary, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee, says it is surprising that such a party leader has been sent to Amethi, who himself has been unable to bring Congress back to power in Rajasthan despite being the Chief Minister thrice.

“It’s surprising to see a former Chief Minister (Gehlot) addressing a press conference in Amethi, who could not win the elections from Jodhpur, his home district, in 1999 when Gehlot was the Rajasthan Chief Minister.”

Meanwhile, Purohit says that the political tussle between Gehlot and Pilot will impact Congress’ chances after the results of the Lok Sabha polls are declared on June 4.


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