Congress in Rajasthan Faces Intense Factional Feud as Gehlot and Pilot Engage in Power Struggle


The Congress party in Rajasthan finds itself embroiled in a bitter power struggle between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, marking a stark contrast to their united front during the 2018 Assembly elections. The ongoing feud has caused a deep division within the party, overshadowing the opposition BJP’s critiques of the government’s policies and resulting in an all-out war among Congress ranks.

The conflict can be traced back to December 2018 when the Congress, with 99 seats, emerged as the largest party but fell short of the majority mark. Gehlot strategically secured the support of Independent MLAs, most of whom were former Congress members denied tickets, by assuring them his appointment as Chief Minister. As a consequence, Pilot, who had aimed for the CM position, had to settle for the deputy CM role. Gehlot further consolidated his power by retaining crucial ministries for himself.

In the following months, Pilot’s influence within the government was restricted, with Gehlot and his loyalists taking control. This led Pilot to become a dissenting voice, often contradicting his own government’s decisions. He criticized the introduction of a new system for mayoral elections, and when the government blamed the BJP for infant deaths at a hospital, Pilot reminded them of their own responsibility after being in power for a year.

The power struggle reached a tipping point in July 2020 when Pilot rebelled against Gehlot, taking 18 loyalist MLAs and camping in Haryana and Delhi. In response, the Congress housed Gehlot loyalists in hotels and resorts in Jaipur and Jaisalmer. The rebellion pushed the Gehlot government into a political crisis, creating uncertainty for its survival.

The ongoing feud has resulted in verbal sparring, police cases, protests, and a significant divide within the party. Pilot and his supporters have been questioning Gehlot’s administration with fervor, sometimes even more than the BJP. The current standoff shows little prospect for reconciliation or a truce between the two leaders.

Overall, the Congress in Rajasthan faces a severe factional feud as the power struggle between Gehlot and Pilot intensifies, causing internal divisions and overshadowing the party’s governance and policy initiatives.


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