Truce in Jaipur; Congress may have doused fire

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News Analysis

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, September 27: The Rajasthan unit of Congress that was set on fire by the loyalists of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot by late Tuesday evening seemed doused. Gehlot may have ensured the status quo bargain to retain power in the state.

Gehlot and the Gandhis knew that they were pushed into lose-lose game, while Congress general secretary Ajay Maken may have talked more than the comfort of 10, Janpath.

The first sign of truce came from the Chhindwara man Kamal Nath, who knew that the Congress had paid the cost of untamed slugfest in a state unit by handing over the power in Madhya Pradesh to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The confirmation sign was in AK Antony flying to the national capital. The Antony formula always works well for Congress. His is a status quoist approach – discuss and forget.

Additional conformation was the missing reference of Gehlot in the report of the Central observers to the interim party chief Sonia Gandhi. The party found three sacrificial goats – Shanti Dhariwal, Mahesh Joshi and Dharmendra Rathore — from among the Congress legislators. They too don’t need to worry, for ages pass by from issuing show cause notices to taking of the real action in Congress.

While the Jaipur fire may have been doused, Ajay Maken may take the blames for not handing the issue amicably. That would help shield party’s former chief Rahul Gandhi, who by allowing Gehlot’s bete noire Sachin Pilot to walk alongside him in Kochi during Bharat Jodo Yatra may have riled up the supporters of the Rajasthan Chief Minister.

Pilot may have consolidated the Gujjar support base for Congress in the 2017 Assembly elections, but he’s still a kid in the political arena of Rajasthan, which is dominated by the OBC politician Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje’s saffron vote base.

While the spotlight would soon dim on Jaipur, Gehlot would have succeeded in achieving his twin objectives – staying in Jaipur and avoiding being a puppet Congress president.

Before the instant gratification addicts lament that Gandhis were left red-faced by Gehlot and yet no action was taken against him, it must be known that Congress is a club of elders and they don’t often knife each other.

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