Following the Congress high command's decision to appoint Navjot Singh Sidhu as Punjab Congress Chief and president despite stiff opposition from Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, the Indian National Congress is now likely to go for a cabinet expansion in Rajasthan between July 27 and 28, while implementing the Punjab formula.
Sources told Republic TV that the President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi, too, has agreed to this and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is likely to arrive in Delhi, soon. The central leadership is considered to have shown exceptional determination in selecting Sidhu as the Punjab Congress Committee president, and the move is being seen with keen eyes in the Rajasthan Congress, with supporters of Pilot expecting a similar attitude to be adopted by the party high command in the state.
A scuffle for command comparable to Punjab, which is also a fight between leaders belonging to two different contemporaries, is currently on the go in Rajasthan between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy, Sachin Pilot.
As per sources, the Sachin Pilot-led Congress faction in Rajasthan is reportedly upset with the central leadership over its continued delay in expansion of the state cabinet and because of its inability to prevail over Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on the issue of cabinet expansion. Sources also stated that a number of supporters of Sachin Pilot, who were cast aside after the public tussle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot last year, are waiting for the cabinet to be expanded.
Another aspect that is common to both Punjab and Rajasthan is AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. She had played a key role in getting Gehlot and Pilot to arrive at peace last year when Pilot had rebelled against the Chief Minister, protesting against being sidelined. Since she was instrumental in Sidhu's appointment as PCC chief and is learned to have assured Pilot that his concerns would be addressed 'too'. Pilot supporters expect the central leadership's focus to now turn to Rajasthan.
Notably, speaking with media persons on Wednesday Pilot had said, "In-depth discussions were held on the issues which were raised in the context of Rajasthan. The AICC is taking steps for the betterment of the government and party organisation. We are in touch with the high command and I believe that the AICC is going to take the necessary steps required to be taken."