Did Vaibhav Gehlot’s debut irritate Ashok Gehlot-Sachin Pilot ties?

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Rajasthan Congress’ infight is very well known in the state since Congress won in the state in last December. Congress had taken nearly 10 days to decide that- who will be the chief minister of Rajasthan between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. The political drama surged high when the PCC was divided into two camps- Gehlot vs Pilot supporters.

However, INC managed to coax Sachin Pilot to support senior party leader and two times chief minister Ashok Gehlot to claim the throne again. But, from the last few days, the skirmish can clearly be seen between Gehlot and Pilot as the Congress party has declared CM Gehlot’s son Vaibhav as the MP candidate from Jodhpur parliamentary seat.

For Gehlot, there won’t be a better time perhaps to launch his son and political heir. Sources said Gehlot felt that Vaibhav in the Lok Sabha is a better assertion of the family’s stature than a seat for him in the Vidhan Sabha, for which elections are anyway nearly five years away.

But the first hurdle in Gehlot’s plans appears to be none other than Deputy CM Sachin Pilot. Over the past couple of months, there have been some skirmishes between the two over Vaibhav’s candidature.

Pilot’s dig at nepotism in Congress

Earlier, in January, Pilot, the son of former Union minister Rajesh Pilot, had taken on nepotism when rumors of Vaibhav contesting Lok Sabha elections first started doing the rounds; Pilot had declared that no one from his family would contest.

On March 5, this discord played out in the open, via press meetings. First, Pilot called an “informal interaction” with media persons, but then went on record to say, “It is correct that the Congress party has largely decided — not just for Rajasthan but for across the country — that it will be better if options other than an incumbent Rajya Sabha MP, MLA, or those who have lost elections, or relatives of a politician, are searched. But whoever is in a position of winnability, or is liked by workers… will be our priority.”

Recently, when asked about Gujjar reservation at a press conference, following another agitation by the community, Gehlot and Pilot had kept passing the mic back and forth. Pilot hails from the Gujjar community.

Vaibhav is just the latest chapter in the long-standing Gehlot-Pilot feud. The factionalism was on display during the ticket distribution for the Assembly elections, with the first list announced four days after nominations began, and played out in the choice of Chief Minister, and the council of ministers.

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