What started like a T20 match between Team Ashok Gehlot and Team Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan has now become a full-fledged test match where Sachin Pilot managed to save the day by sticking on to the pitch. Indeed, the game between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot is getting intense day by day. It is now no more about power-hitting, the team which will display skills, techniques and patience shall win this match. It seems Team Sachin Pilot is playing tactfully at this point in time. And, Team Ashok Gehlot is getting restless as it is taking too many decisions one after another, just like a restless captain doing too many bowling changes.
Ashok Gehlot is a veteran politician. He knew if the rebel MLAs are disqualified from the assembly, the total count for the majority would fall by at least 10 seats. That way, he could easily prove his majority in the assembly; he already paraded 101 MLAs twice in his support. But, Sachin Pilot is no naïve in politics. When he saw he doesn’t have the support of more than 20 MLAs, which was insufficient to bring down Gehlot’s government, he postponed all his moves. He preferred to wait and let Gehlot play his cards.
And team Gehlot did the same. The assembly Speaker issued a notice of disqualification of 18 MLAs on the ground of ‘anti-party activities’. Sachin Pilot, deciding not to give his wicket just like that, took the matter to the High Court. The Rajasthan High Court, on Friday, July 17, deferred any action against Sachin Pilot and other MLAs by the Speaker till Tuesday, July 21. The Court will hear the case again on Monday. Interestingly, the rebels took Congress to court yesterday arguing that “free speech” cannot be labeled as “anti-party activity”.
Team Gehlot, showing its restlessness, moved one more step. It attacked BJP, accusing it to have conspired to bring down the Gehlot government in Rajasthan. Congress Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, on Friday, July 17, did a press conference where he read out a transcript of an “alleged” conversation between Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and two of the Congress MLAs, who are now siding Sachin Pilot. Eventually, Congress suspended its MLAs Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishwendra Singh and filed an FIR against the Union Minister. Apparently, a special police team from Rajasthan is heading to a resort near Delhi where the two leaders are currently staying with other rebels in Sachin Pilot’s camp. On the other hand, the Union Minister called the tapes fake and said he was ready to face any investigation. “The audio doesn’t have my voice. If I am called for questioning I will definitely go,” Mr. Shekhawat said.
So, it was the fourth day of the test match. And Sachin Pilot managed to save the day without losing any wicket. But, in an effort to take wickets at any cost, Ashok Gehlot exposed himself. He and his team exposed his game plan. Eventually, politics is a 40% game plan and 60% execution of the game plan.
The rebels have argued that the Speaker has no power to serve such notice, more so when the assembly is not in session. They decided to challenge the constitutional rule that allows the speaker to disqualify any member who has “voluntarily given up his membership”. They say that just because they skipped two meetings, they cannot be served such notice.
It will be interesting to see how the pitch behaves on the fifth day. Will more MLAs turn towards Sachin Pilot? Will some MLAs from Sachin’s camp move back to Gehlot’s team, looking at the treatment given to Bhanwar Lal and Vishwendra Singh? The game is still on!