The 'Sachin Pilot saga' in Congress is truly a 'desert storm' and will leave both short term and long term impact on the country's polity as well as on the grand old party.
For an industrious son of an illustrious father Rajesh Pilot, who was also a self respecting Gujjar leader, of course rebellion and matters concerning self-pride came to the just ousted Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot as part of the inheritance and the 'Gujjar legacy'.
Rajesh Pilot had himself contested for AICC President against Sitaram Kari and Sharad Pawar Pawar in the famous triangular contest for the prized post in 1997.
Late Rajesh Pilot had also almost turned a rebel in 1999 when Sharad Pawar, P A Sangma and Tariq Anwar came out of the Congress on Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin, but Senior Pilot declined to join them on the pretext that the rebel group would have been stronger had all of them stayed within the Congress.
"Sharad Pawar was wrong to presume that I will quit the Congress......we would have been strong, had we all stayed back in the party and still insist on foreign origin and other issues," Late Rajesh Pilot had told me in 1999.
Sachin Pilot has to his credit of being one of the youngest and successful Congress leaders to become Deputy Chief Minister of a large state like Rajasthan and of course also the state unit president.
Born September 7, 1977, Sachin is now just 43 and notably seven years younger to Rahul Gandhi. Though inherited politics from his father and Sachin's mom too has been a neta in her own right at the state level. Undoubtedly Sachin has come a long way by sheer hard work and having displayed good organisational skills.
Thus, he could be given the sobriquet of being a 'dynast' to an extent, but Sachin's profile is also a test case with 'difference' - unlike Rahul Gandhi who got opportunities through his family link but is yet to prove his mettle.
Though on face value many could say, Sachin had enough from his Congress party as he could become youngest lawmaker only at the age of 26 and also served as the Minister of Corporate Affairs in the UPA-2, there is no gainsay in pointing out that Sachin deserved "more credit and recognition" for piloting grand old party's convincing win in Rajasthan in 2018.
Prior to the 2018 assembly polls, it was certainly not hush-hush. Everybody spoke about immense fund crisis in the Congress.
But during my trip to Rajasthan for the polls in 2018 - I was told more than once: "Thanks to Sachinji, funds are being managed. Of course, Sachinji believes the fundraising and fund management comes with the job as Pradesh Congress chief and there was nothing very great about it".
According to a Sachin Pilot loyalist - Giriraj Garg, the credit to Sachin Pilot should go more for managing party campaign and leading it to the road to glories.
"It was a virtual 'punar Janam- rebirth' for Congress in Rajasthan as we were reduced to 21 seats in 2013 and our vote nosedive like never before. The difference in vote share with BJP was 15 percent".
Thus, if after the polls - Sachin had harboured an ambition to be Chief Minister, perhaps it was not such a huge crime. But it is altogether a different chapter that Rahul Gandhi did not want to be 'overshadowed' by a youngster. Instead, Ashok Gehlot was brought in on the pretext of 'more MLAs' preferring him vis-a-vis Sachin Pilot.
The fact of the matter is there was a last minute palace conspiracy. Sonia Gandhi's trusted aide Ahmed Patel chipped in, and had held a meeting with Gehlot, then 67 and made him the Chief Minister. Things could have been still saved, had Sachin Pilot got due respect and greater say in the running of the administration.
Gehlot had to play his games and slowly a conflict of interest was created between Sachin and Gehlot's son Vaibhab, who is just 40.
Thus, a day after his ouster, Sachin Pilot summed up the paradox and his grievance: "The Chief Minister did not allow me and my followers the dignity and space to work... The bureaucrats were asked not to follow my directives, files were not sent to me. What's the worth of a position if that doesn't allow me to fulfill the commitments I made to my people?”
The Sachin camp now says - the fear was Ashok Gehlot would be slowly pushing his son's case to 'succeed' him as the state leader in Rajasthan! It is the same good old - the 'weakness' of a father for his son. Of course, the fairy tale of desert politics would not end here. There is already whispering and some tweets - including from 'fake' accounts - on Sachin's wife Sara Sachin Pilot.
Sachin Pilot has said he is not joining the BJP. That is possible!
Sara is daughter of former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and had married Sachin Pilot in 2004. The couple are blessed with two children, Aaraan and Vehaan. Of course,it will be of academic interest and also politically interesting to see how Sara reconciles to the politics of Sachin - post his exit from Congress and 'possible' deal making with the BJP. Sara's brother and former CM of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, has rooted against the attempt to topple the Gehlot government in Rajasthan.
Power politics has many layers. The question of whether one has one's own political power or goes to work for someone else would always be a vital question.