Rajasthan politics stands at crossroads with two of the senior-most leaders of the ruling Congress party — Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot — now expressing their displeasure with each other’s work in the open. While Ashok Gehlot is the rock that binds the Congress cadre in the state, Sachin Pilot is/was the young starlet that the Congress was banking on, not just in Rajasthan but also in the Centre at some point in the future.
The recent turn of events has left all that in shatters as both Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot showing unwillingness to make amends.
In this deep political crisis, the Congress high command sitting in Delhi, has shown little prowess of being able to get the two leaders on the same page. While one could blame external forces at play, it is perhaps this laid back attitude of the Congress that has lost them Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, and more importantly a young promising leader like Jyotiraditya Scindia.
So with Rajasthan politics in shambles, we bring to you the numbers game. Here is a raw blueprint of where the political balance in Rajasthan currently stands and what Sachin Pilot’s possible moves in the near future could mean for Ashok Gehlot’s government in the state.
Current Numbers in Rajasthan Assembly
Rajasthan, as we all know is a 200-seat assembly. The Congress party which won the elections in the fag end of 2018, currently has 107 MLAs on their own, including the 6 BSP MLAs who crossed over into the Congress mainframe. In the Rajasthan government,
Ashok Gehlot also has the support of other parties including BTP (2), CPI(M)(2), RLD(1) and of 12 independent MLAs. So the total comes to 124.
BJP, on the other hand, has 72 MLAs and additionally they have the support of 3 Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) MLAs and one independent MLA. So in total 76.
Sachin Pilot has with him a group of 18 MLAs from Congress. Together they are 19.
Here is how the Rajasthan Assembly currently looks like
As you can see in the second demonstration, with Sachin Pilot and his 18 MLAs out of the scheme of things, Congress + allies drops to 105. While this still does not change BJP because Sachin has not announced anything about him joining the BJP.
But the thing to be noted here is that out of the 105 Congress+ MLAs, 17 are from other parties who are in collaboration in the government. So, in reality Congress only has 88 MLAs left in their basket.
Scenarios in which Congress remains in power
Scenario One: Sachin Pilot Joins the BJP, Congress holds on to 17 others
If Sachin Pilot joins the BJP along with his 18 MLAs and assuming no other change of political stance takes place in Rajasthan, BJP will (virtually) rise to 95 (76+19) and Congress will remain at 105. In this scenario, however small the majority is, Ashok Gehlot retains his CM chair. Sachin Pilot would lose his candidature hence the overall number would drop from 200 to 181.
Scenario Two: Sachin Pilot forms his own party
If Sachin Pilot does not join the BJP and does not go back to the Congress and decides to open a third front, and again, assuming no other change in political stance takes place in Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot will still remain the Chief Minister as Congress stays on 105, BJP on 76 and another player comes in the picture with 19. This does not change the outcome of the assembly. Sachin Pilot would lose his candidature hence the overall number would drop from 200 to 181.
Scenarios in which BJP can come to power
Scenario Three: Sachin Pilot joins the BJP and some of the 17 others withdraw support to Congress
If Sachin Pilot joins the BJP they rise to 95 (virtually), 6 short of a majority. If then, at least 6 of the 17 other MLAs who have supported the Congress party also turncoat and decide to support the BJP, then the political scenario in Rajasthan could turn on its head. BJP would require a minimum of eight 6 MLAs to then rise up to 101, the majority in the Rajasthan Assembly. However, Sachin Pilot would lose his candidature hence the overall number would drop from 200 to 181. BJP, with the standing calculation, would come to power in the state.
However unlikely it may look, with the kind of political uncertainties we have seen in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and even Maharashtra, not so long back, we cannot put it past the BJP to pull this off.
There is no confirmation as to which way Sachin Pilot will swing, but if what the young leader has done so far is anything to go by, his actions in the next few days, could very well result in the fall of the Congress government in Rajasthan, one ironically, he fought so hard for, in 2018.