Sonia reimposes faith in team Pande-Gehlot.
Jaipur: Amid the sweltering heat of the stand-off between Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and its ally Shiv Sena in the ongoing Maharashtra political theatre, the grand-old party – Indian National Congress – played its masterstroke on Friday evening, when several of its MLAs were ferried to Jaipur to be kept nearly 1,200 kilometers away from the epicenter of Maha-politics, Mumbai.
The move, had the stamp of approval of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who after going through the strategic thinking and executional co-ordination between Team Avinash Pande-Ashok Gehlot, has re-imposed her faith in their team.
With reports coming in that the BJP might try to woo Congress MLAs from Maharashtra to form its own government and leave aside its ally Shiv Sena, the mastermind strategists Pande and Gehlot were quick to decide a way to bring down the saffron party in its own bastion.
Noted Chinese General Sun Tzu had written, “Move not unless your see an advantage, use not your troops unless there is something to be gained.” And it appears that the wily team of Pande-Gehlot have take cue from the General who is credited even today for the best management and military strategies.
Till Thursday, Gehlot and Pande watched the entire chain of events unfold closely in front of them and were silent observers.
However, on Thursday, Pande reached Mumbai and did not let anyone know about the storm brewing underneath. Just when it appeared that to bring the Shiv Sena down the BJP might approach a few Congress MLAs, the two Generals of Sonia Gandhi decided it was now the opportune time to move their “troops” and thus, the beeline to Jaipur. Pande himself reached the Pink City with five MLAs already landing by a different flight.
Interestingly, Gehlot is adapt at doing “political surgical strikes” and a similar “attack” was waged by the three time CM of Rajasthan against BJP in Karnataka wherein, pairing up with Ghulam Nabi Azad, Gehlot had ferried MLAs out of Bengaluru, away from the political pot-pourri, to a resort where no one could meet them.
This move resulted in a Congress-JDS government in the southern Indian state. A similar move is employed for Maharashtra as well which it is believed by relevant Congress leaders, was necessary to bring down the BJP.
Meanwhile, back in Jaipur, Gehlot’s trusted aide and confidante Raghu Sharma, in whom Pande also has faith specially after his handling of work during Maharashtra elections, was already waiting at the airport to ferry Pande to the resort, in the jungles near Ramgarh outside Jaipur. In fact, Raghu Sharma and another trusted soldier of Gehlot – Mahesh Joshi – were together since afternoon. Not even their staff knew of their whereabouts and the two Congress leaders shunned their official car and travelled in a private car to the resort to take stock of the preparations and returned to the airport in time to pick up Pande.
Meanwhile at the airport, Avinash Pande spoke to media and said that he has come to Jaipur for organisational work. Upon informing that Maharshtra MLAs were also in the city Pande said that they were welcome in Jaipur as they have come for a visit. Saying that the people of Maharashtra had given them the responsibility of being the opposition, Pande said that the Horse-trading of MLAs was being done as a mockery of democracy is being made. Pande later left for the resort.
Later, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also reached the resort and a dinner was organised at the resort. Notably, the CM held a discussion with Pande in seclusion at the resort wherein, feedback over the prevailing situation was also taken from Pande.
Interestingly, while around two dozen MLAs arrived at Jaipur airport, few MLAs also reached Jodhpur as part of the plan hatched by Gehlot and Pande. It is reported that the MLAs will be ferried to various places across the state viz Sawai Madhopur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur among other cities and groups will be made for ease of management that will be rotated to avoid being lured in by opposition.
The entire episode is but the tip of the iceberg and it is believed that more is yet to come, however, once thing has become clear as a result of Friday’s developments, that Pande also enjoys an almost similar trust of Sonia as Gehlot who is being increasingly trusted in decisions for Maharashtra right from his war room tactic to the current scenario. Moreover, even though the Congress party has three states in its kitty, Congress President Sonia Gandhi relies on the team of her “Old Guards” i.e., the Pande-Gehlot combo to take all the shots needed to bring the ‘enemy’ down.
BJP formed Govts in K’taka, Goa, Manipur despite numbers not in their favour: Gehlot
– Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said on Friday that BJP has formed governments in states like Karnataka, Manipur and Goa despite the numbers not being in their favour.
– He said that the results of the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections are a setback to the party.
– Asked to comment on the impasse over government formation in Maharashtra, Gehlot told reporters here, “BJP must have made false promises.
– They made governments in Manipur, Goa and Karnataka and Goa. But the majority number (of forming the government) was with the opposition. Maharashtra and Haryana election results have given them setback and they will now be exposed.”