By Saiyed Moziz Imam Zaidi
Amid political crisis in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has brought some solace to the Congress camp by standing up against the BJP and rebel MLAs like a solid rock. His ability to keep the fight on has compelled the Governor to yield to the demand to call the assembly session, though with conditions.
This beligerant face of the Congress is in complete contrast to the Madhya Pradesh episode where the Chief Minister was caught napping till the MLAs flew to Bengaluru. The Madhya Pradesh political crisis was left to Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh till Congress pitched in and it was too late.
Congress sources say that Ashok Gehlot has emerged as a fighter at a time when even Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh could not stop the BJP onslaught which led to the rebellion of Jyotiraditya Scindia and ultimately to the fall of the government in Madhya Pradesh.
But in Rajasthan, Gehlot kept the whole party on its toes — from the crisis managers to the legal team; even Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in his favour.
As Ajay Maken, special observer of the party in Rajasthan said: “The fight in Rajasthan is political and the legal battle is just a small part.” So the party took the fight politically. The first success Ashok Gehlot got was that Ahmed Patel, the Congress treasurer, managed to wean away three MLAs from the Pilot camp and got the blueprint from them of the whole operation, said sources.
Ashok Gehlot also used the legal team of the Congress very cautiously and only Speaker was made a party in courts, the Chief Minister was not a party to any of the litigations, thus making a point of constitutional crisis.
Gehlot also managed three former Law Ministers during the UPA regime to write a letter to Governor Kalraj Mishra.
Then former Home Minister P. Chidambaram attacked the Governor and said that he has no discretion on the issue of calling the assembly session.
After holding the fort in Rajasthan with more than 100 MLAs in Jaipur, Ashok Gehlot finally spoke to Narendra Modi on the issue, thus taking the fight to the Prime Minister’s doors.
Meanwhile, the party kept the political battle on with protests at Raj Bhavans across the country except Jaipur and kept the pressure on the Governor and the BJP.
Former Congress General Secretary B.K. Hariprasad said that in the last six years, BJP has misused and abused the Constitution to ensure that all the democratic institutions were weakened to achieve their political goals. They have legalized the toppling of the elected governments through horse trading, he said.
The strategy of the Congress is to lure MLAs from the Pilot camp. As such all channels are being used to reach out to MLAs, including contacting their family members to bring them back to party fold.