Rebel Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Wednesday said he is not interested in joining the BJP even though his erstwhile colleagues like Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Jyotiraditya Scindia have advised him to do so.
Technically, Pilot would be a great catch for the BJP, helping the party in furthering the perceptions against the Congress not only in Rajasthan, but the entire country.
The BJP, adopting a wait-and-watch policy, appears to be treading cautiously due to certain reasons.
First of all, the actual number of Congress MLAs standing in support of Pilot, now that Ashok Gehlot government is still functioning, is still unclear.
The Gehlot government in Rajasthan, unlike the erstwhile Kamal Nath dispensation in Madhya Pradesh, may still make it. In MP, after the exit of Scindia, it had become impossible for Nath to survive. There is no denying the political acumen of Gehlot.
Besides, Scindia had a history with the BJP with his grandmother being a founder member and aunts Vasundhara Raje and Yashodhara Raje key active members currently. Pilot has no such family connections in the saffron party.
However, the bigger issue appears to be the hold that senior Rajasthan BJP leader and former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has on the BJP cadre and leadership in the state.
So far, Raje has not reacted on what is being read as a “Delhi-sponsored programme” in Rajasthan. She is expected to attend a party meeting in Rajasthan after which things are expected to become clear.
Other senior BJP leaders from the state, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, PP Choudhary and Om Mathur, have reacted on Pilot but with limited scope and cautiously.
Raje’s hold over BJP MLAs and the state unit is well known and how she held her ground in 2018 against someone as powerful as Amit Shah, the then BJP president, over the selection of the state unit chief.
Shah wanted to appoint Shekhawat but after weeks-long stalemate, a middle path was adopted in the way of Madan Lal Saini.