Before we talk about Sachin Pilot, let us talk about electoral history of Andhra Pradesh. 10 years ago, Congress had 156 seats in the 294 member united Andhra Assembly. It had secured second straight win in Andhra in 2004 and 2009 elections and everything looked good. In the 2014 elections, it secured 0 seats in Andhra Pradesh out of 175! In 2019, the figures were the same for Andhra Pradesh. It secured a grand zero again and had a vote share of 1.2%!
So what happened in a space of 5 years? Why did a party so dominant in Andhra Pradesh got reduced to such dire straits? It must have had leaders, organisation and influence in the state. How did it lose it within a mere 5 years?
Jagan Mohan Reddy
Jagan Mohan Reddy, the son of YSR Reddy started a statewide Yatra 6 months after death of his father in and denial of CM post to him. This was 2009. He was expelled and in the by-elections won by a huge margin of about 5.5 lakh votes under banner of YSR Congress Party.
In next 4 years, he was also jailed and many cases started against him. But he secured 45% votes in the 2014 elections, effectively wiping out Congress from the state and taking its place.
The reason for this was his image as a future oriented youth, legacy of his father and hold on Reddy votes. In 2019, he won by a huge majority securing about 50% of the votes. It is also important that his family has converted 25% of Andhra to Christianity and all these converts now stand staunchly behind him.
Previous examples of Congress losing to its offshoots
Jagan Mohan is not the first example of such shortsightedness on part of Congress. It has previously given birth to many state level leaders that finished Congress in the respective states.
V. P. Singh finished it in Uttar Pradesh; Sharad Pawar made it a junior partner in Maharashtra and Mamta Bannerjee made it irrelevant in West Bengal.
Options before Sachin Pilot
Sachin Pilot was recently humiliated by Congress. He was stripped of his post of Dy. CM and removed as PCC chief. It is widely held, even by loyal congressmen, that he was primarily responsible for Congress win in 2018 Rajasthan elections. His tireless efforts after the disastrous performance in 2013, when Congress was reduced to 21 MLAs, won Congress the state with 100 seats.
Everyone expected him to become CM, but Ashok Gehlot, old Gandhi loyalist was made CM. Sachin did serve for about 2 years before, as he claims, efforts to humiliate him crossed all limits.
Contrary to media narrative, I had declared that Sachin will not join BJP in any case and had given many reasons for the same. Read that article below:-
So what are the options before Sachin Pilot now? He can silently make a deal with the Congress and maybe get back some of the previous privileges. But this is unlikely for multiple reasons:-
- He is not unlikely to get back into god books of Gandhis anytime soon and that will hamper his future career.
- He has significant support among Gujjars and Meenas and as a young dynamic leader, can easily get more support. Going back to Congress could be a losing proposition in such a case.
- There is a chance that his proud supporters will not be willing to align with him again, if he fails to take a decisive action at this time.
He is unlikely to join BJP as discussed above. So he has only one option left. To float a new party. This makes sense for so many reasons:-
- People are generally fed up of old and corrupt Congress ecosystem. There is need of a centerist party in India. A few years ago, AAP looked like a viable option, but it has betrayed the hopes of people. A new party, having people such as Sachin Pilot and in future maybe more suave, young leaders from Congress can actually replace the old party all over India in a few years. That is what Indira Gandhi did in 1960s. All old leaders became irrelevant in a few years.
- Sachin Pilot could very much fulfil his dream of becoming Chief Minister in near future if he forms a new party. He could become CM within a few months with outside support of BJP or could become one after next elections.
- His support will solidify behind him and with some work, new party could get traction even outside Rajasthan, notably in Haryana and UP where Gujjars make a powerful community in many districts.
No one knows what will happen in the future. It is the duty of the political analysts to inform us. However, political analysis is more of a hobby than a profession. My prediction is as good as or may even be better than that of say Yogendra Yadav or Ashutosh.
My assessment is that Sachin Pilot will form a new party and may get widespread support from many Congress leaders. In a few years, Congress might be decimated in Rajasthan too.
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