The Congress party is once again on its toes as the political crisis in Rajasthan has deepened with Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot reaching Delhi with some of his loyalist lawmakers. According to reports, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's camp has alleged that Pilot is in talks with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which toppled the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh after Rahul Gandhi's close confidant Jyotiraditya Scindia switched sides almost three months ago.

Pilot has been at loggerheads with Gehlot even before the Congress came to power in Rajasthan riding on an anti-incumbency wave in December 2018. They crossed sword during the selection of candidates for the 2018 Assembly Elections and the feud came to the fore after the central leadership of the Congress party chose Gehlot over Pilot for the chief ministership.

This was a kind of setback for Sachin Pilot as he played a crucial role in reviving the party in the state after the Congress faced worst-ever defeat in 2013. In the past one-and-a-half years, there were several instances when the two camps showed deep distrust between themselves.

Will this be Madhya Pradesh 2.0?

With the latest development, the Congress now apprehends a repeat of Madhya Pradesh. Several senior party leaders have openly expressed their apprehension. "Worried for our party...Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables? (sic)" tweeted former union minister and senior Congress Kapil Sibal.

ashok gehlot sachin pilot
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Right) and Deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot (left) with Congress president Rahul GandhiIANS

The fear is understandable as the Congress has 107 MLAs in the 200-strong Rajasthan Assembly. This includes six lawmakers who defected to the congress from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) last year. The grand old party also enjoys the support of 12 independent MLAs. It has the support of five other MLAs of the CPI (M) and the Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

On the other hand, the BJP has 72 lawmakers and has the support of 3 MLAs of RLP and one independent. As per reports, Pilot has the support of 25 MLAs and if they decide to switch sides, the Congress could find itself in trouble. 

According to latest reports, as many as 30 Congress MLAs have pledged their support to Pilot. These MLAs have told him that they back whatever decision he takes.