Rajasthan political crisis: All you need to know about the likely scenarios
Central observers, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, along with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are expected to reach Delhi to discuss the issue with the party leadership
The rebellion by Congress MLAs loyal to Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has temporarily put on hold the process to elect the new leader of the state legislature party, who will replace Gehlot when he gets elected as the party’s national party president (should he indeed, get elected).
The lawmakers are opposing the nomination of former deputy chief minister, Sachin Pilot, as the chief minister. They want the new CM to be picked by the Congress Legislative Party after the October 19 declaration of the results of the party president polls, and they do not want former deputy CM Pilot to be Gehlot’s successor.
Around 92 of them are believed to have submitted their resignations to the speaker of the house, CP Joshi.
The Pilot camp is, however, confident that the party leadership will abide by its promise to make Pilot the next chief minister.
With these MLAs refusing to relent from their demand and to even meet central observers, Mallikarjun Kharge and Ajay Maken, both Pilot and Gehlot are expected to reach Delhi to discuss the issue with the party leadership.
Kharge and Maken are also returning to Delhi today and will submit their report to the party leadership.
There are four scenarios:
The Congress’ central leadership picks a different candidate for the party presidential election. Since Gehlot was anyway a reluctant candidate — he wanted to continue as CM, and when his hand was forced, do both jobs till it was made clear to him that he could not — this actually works to his advantage. It will also publicise an open secret — that the party’s central leadership is keen on having its own candidate for the presidential elections despite current party president Sonia Gandhi’s declaration that they would remain impartial.
The Congress party accepts the position of Gehlot to allow his confidante to become the chief minister. This, according to Congress leaders in Jaipur, will ensure continuity of the government and prevent any rebellion from the MLAs. Political observers say it would mean that Gehlot will continue to run the Rajasthan government. However, this essentially means the lawmakers would have stared down the Congress’ central leadership.
The Congress’ leadership appoints Pilot as the chief minister, convinces Gehlot about its decision and seeks his intervention to convince the MLAs loyal to him to accept Pilot as their leader. According to party leaders in Jaipur, this will not be easy as MLAs loyal to Gehlot are not willing to accept Pilot as CM saying he led the rebellion against the party in 2020. While Gehlot is believed to have told the party leadership on Sunday night that MLAs were not under his control, it is clear that they are.
The party could choose a consensus candidate as the chief minister, who is acceptable to both Gehlot and Pilot. The names of such MLAs were apparently discussed at the meeting of party observers with party leaders in Jaipur on Sunday. These names could be part of the observers’ report to the Congress high command. To be sure, this option is unlikely to find favour with Pilot who effectively ends up with nothing.