Vital Timing and Message behind Rahul Gandhi’s Meeting with Sachin Pilot to Quell Rajasthan Crisis

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A file photo of Sachin Pilot with Rahul Gandhi. (Facebook/Sachin Pilot)

If the Ashok Gehlot-Sachin Pilot rift ends, a perception will build that Rahul managed to stem the rot in Rajasthan. Pilot staying back will also reassure many disgruntled young leaders that they have worth and value in Rahul’s scheme of things.

  • CNN-News18 New Delhi
  • Last Updated: August 10, 2020, 10:40 PM IST

The meeting between Sachin Pilot and the Gandhi siblings came on a very interesting day. Sonia Gandhi has completed a year as interim president and will continue till a permanent chief is found. This development came even as clamour for Rahul Gandhi to return as president is growing. Rahul Gandhi taking the lead to broker peace with Pilot will now be pitched as his leadership should the storm subside in Rajasthan.

Sonia Gandhi has had a fairly successful reign as president as she brought her party to power twice and her style of consensus, rather than confrontation, had helped soothe many ego clashes in the party. Unfortunately, the perception stuck to Rahul that he could not keep the party together. From the loss of Madhya Pradesh to the exit of leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Hemanta Biswa Sarma, even a Tom Vadakkan. In their departure, the common refrain was that Rahul is unable to keep the party together or stop the exits.

If the Ashok Gehlot-Pilot rift ends, this is what will change. The Congress and the perception which will be built is that Rahul managed to stem the rot in Rajasthan. More importantly, if and when he takes charge as party president, he needs a young, no baggage team. A leader like Pilot staying back will help Rahul’s image. It will also reassure many disgruntled young leaders that they have worth and value in Rahul’s scheme of things.

Sources say both Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi told Pilot that they understand his frustration but that nothing should be done to embolden the BJP. Pilot was assured that charges against his MLAs will be dropped, he would be given an honourable face-saver and that the future would be his.

Linked to Pilot’s future is the future of Rahul and the team he builds. The message is also to seniors like Gehlot that while they are powerful and important, the adjustment with the young is critical. The ambiguity which existed during Rahul’s first term as president, where the Congress was caught between his and Sonia’s team, will have to pave the way for a clear direction. And this is possible when Rahul calls the shots and sends the message that the buck stops with him.

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