Efforts are underway to warm up politics in Rajasthan

Leaders close to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on target from central agencies.

NEW DELHI: Politics in Congress Rajasthan seems to be heating up once again. After Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot emerges as one of the likely contenders for Congress leader, lawmakers loyal to former deputy CM Sachin Pilot are making statements, challenging the high command. At the same time, central agencies began raiding the premises of Gehlot supporters in what is seen as an attempt to tarnish CM’s image. This is exactly what happened more than two years ago when the attempt to overthrow the government of Rajasthan failed. The Directorate of Execution (ED) had then found nothing after the searches. Gehlot had then warned the Center that he could get nothing out of such raids. The state disagrees with the Center on several issues like water, GST, alleged discriminatory behavior, etc.
The Gehlot government has made several decisions that dominate public discourse nationwide. Former pension scheme, free treatment up to Rs 10 lakh under Sanjeevani health scheme, loan waiver for farmers and urban employment guarantee scheme modeled on MGNREGA. Non-BJP governments in states are also announcing programs like this. The Congress presents these programs in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The “Rajasthan model” is now becoming popular in the country.
Observers believe that the Congress could choose Gehlot for the post of party leader given his own image and the popular pro-people decisions of his government. However, who a clear picture of the candidate for the highest position will not be known until September 30, the deadline for nomination. The BJP’s strategic calculations will be upended if Gehlot gets the top job. With this in mind, central agencies remain focused on Rajasthan. The raids against a government minister Gehlot and some leaders close to the CM are seen as the start of a larger “game plan”. CCP leader Govind Singh Dotasra has already said that central investigative agencies will carry out more raids like this in the run up to the elections, just to defame the Gehlot government. He also claimed that the agencies would get nothing. The Congress will not let the BJP and the central government succeed in their “political maneuver”. In fact, since 2020, Gehlot has faced challenges due to the “conspiracy” of his own party leaders and also due to investigative agencies. What makes the situation worse is that the high command does not even notify party insiders who are creating such trouble for their own government. As a result, Pilot and his supporters continue to make statements aimed at warming up domestic politics.
What is clear is that if Gehlot is elevated, then his successor in Rajasthan will be a leader of his choice. But Sachin faction is trying to push for former Dy CM to be made CM if Gehlot goes to Delhi. Chairman of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, Dharmendra Rathore, who is a senior Congress official, said Gehlot believes in the importance of moving forward based on his work and achievements. Thus, raids and political statements can have no impact on him, Rathore adds. He alleges that the BJP has been trying to destabilize the government for four years. But the truth is for everyone to see, he adds.

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