Waiting for four and a half years, Pilot’s latest intra-party protest has further dented his chances.
A dejected Gurjar man, perhaps in his early 20s, stood outside a sprawling government bungalow in Jaipur. In town as part of his job with the railways, he wanted to get a photograph with the dignitary residing within before he went to catch his train back home to Bamanwas in Sawai Madhopur district.
As the June sun beat down, he pleaded with security officials to let him in.
“I just want to take a photo with him,” he said.
He was refused. He then turned towards another visitor and asked if he could accompany him inside.
“You can’t enter unless you have an appointment,” the visitor, a ticket hopeful, said. “I can’t help.”
Disconsolate, the youth turned away and left for the station.
The bungalow is located at 11, Civil Lines and its resident is Sachin Pilot, 45-year-old Congress renegade, darling of the Delhi media for his quotable quotes, and chief minister in-waiting for the last four and a half years. His claims for the top job have been thwarted three times – 2018, 2020 and 2022. Most recently, he went on a fast against the Ashok Gehlot government and undertook a five-day foot march over twin issues of exam paper leaks and investigation against former chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
All told, it’s not easy to be Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan politics today.
But it runs in the family. In 1998-2000, his father Rajesh Pilot had opposed Sonia Gandhi as party president. He intended to contest the Congress presidential elections against Gandhi in 2000– a move that did not go down well with Congress workers. But he died before the election took place. In 1999, he was even “roughed up” by Congress workers at 24, Akbar Road, the party headquarters in Delhi.
Years later, Junior Pilot too showed he can’t be contained, especially with an assembly election scheduled for the end of this year.
And while Sachin Pilot doesn’t meet fans or well-wishers without appointments who camp outside his home, his father Rajesh was known, in his wife Rama’s words, to “always keep open the doors of his home and office for them”.
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