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After Punjab, change of guard unlikely in Rajasthan

The change of guard in Punjab has set the Congress abuzz regarding Rahul Gandhi’s stepping in to plug fissures in the troubled states for the party, and Rajasthan could well be next in the line.

India Today has learnt that Rajasthan is likely to undergo a change of guard, but not anytime soon.

Sources in the Congress told India Today that although the situation in both the states was not similar, the party could well take the Punjab route to cut out anti-incumbency in Rajasthan and pitch a new face before the assembly elections due at the end of 2023.

The change of leadership in Rajasthan could take about six months and will happen after the upcoming assembly polls in the five states . What stirred speculation was a meeting between Sachin Pilot and Rahul Gandhi on September 17, the first since Sachin’s rebellion last year.

Sachin Pilot, when contacted, refused to comment on the issue. However, a senior Congress leader said that certain promises were made to Sachin Pilot when he was wooed back into the party. It’s been more than a year since then and though many from his team have switched sides, it’s more of a matter of words given by party high command.

Sachin Pilot has met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra several times. She had been instrumental in wooing the young leader back into the party alongwith Ahmad Patel.

Rajsthan in-charge Ajay Maken has already prepared a template for a rejig in the state government and the party is waiting for Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to recover before any announcement is made . Ashok Gehlot has undergone heart surgery and is avoiding public contact.

The likely cabinet reshuffle would not see sweeping changes in the government and would happen soon.

“One cannot compare Punjab to Rajasthan. Ashok Gehlot has considerable hold over the MLAs and is a popular leader,” sources said.

No wonder Gehlot is not willing to concede much ground to Sachin Pilot, even at the behest of party high command. However, a clearer and major change could probably happen after the Punjab and UP elections. The leadership was keen on focusing on the immediate challenge at hand and an outreach to Sachin Pilot was more to reassure him that the party hadn’t forgotten him.

There is a possibility that Sachin Pilot could make a comeback as the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief to begin with. Considering that he was the only PCC chief who was not made the chief minister, in contrast to Kamal Nath, Bhupesh Baghel and even Captain Amarinder Singh, his supporters feel that could well be a good beginning to start with.

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