Karnataka polls: Ashok Gehlot in, Sachin Pilot missing from Cong’s list of campaigners

19 April, 2023 | Amish Mahajan

Gehlot Pilot 1 National

While several Congress top guns and heavyweights, including AICC chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and national president Mallikarjun Kharge, featured in the party's list of star campaigners f...

Sachin Pilot’s name must be added to the 40-star campaigners released by the Congress party for the Karnataka assembly elections. At the same time, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has been made the star campaigner. Amidst the ongoing tussle in the Congress, the party has yet to make Sachin Pilot a star campaigner for the Karnataka assembly elections. So far, in every election, the Congress party has been making Sachin Pilot a star campaigner, but this is the first time that Pilot has not been made a star campaigner.

This has been attributed to Sachin Pilot’s allegations against the Congress high command and CM Ashok Gehlot in the recent press conference, then going on a hunger strike even after being warned by the in-charge not to do anti-party activities and rejecting the MLA feedback program, going to field meetings and showing strength.

In Rajasthan Congress politics, it is said that CM Ashok Gehlot’s Kata does not ask for water. The condition of Sachin Pilot is also looking like this. The dream of becoming CM remained unfulfilled, even the chair of deputy CM and PCC chief was absent. Now the party has snatched away the title of star campaigner. The Congress central leadership has named Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, National President Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupendra Baghel and others in the list of star campaigners for the May 10 Karnataka Assembly elections. A list of 40 leaders, including Shashi Tharoor, has been released along with Himachal CM Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.

Congress’s list of star campaigners also includes leaders like DK Shivakumar, former chief minister Siddaramaiah, former BJP CM Jagadish Shettar, Shashi Tharoor, former cricketer and ex-MP Mohammad Azharuddin, Imran Pratapgarhi and Kanhaiya Kumar. Raj Babbar and Divya Sapandana, who have been away from the party’s programs for a long time, have also been included in the star campaigners.

Sachin Pilot’s name not being on the list of star campaigners is significant because he is a very popular and young leader in Congress. In the last several assembly elections across the country, Sachin Pilot has been the most sought-after by the Congress candidates after the Gandhi family. Sachin Pilot worked hard with Priyanka Gandhi in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the result of which came out in the form of victory in Himachal Pradesh.

But, the internal report of many leaders, including CM Ashok Gehlot, in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, General Secretary KC Venugopal, and PCC Chief Dotasara, has gone negative against Sachin Pilot. Sources say Pilot has yet to be made the star campaigner this time. Rahul Gandhi has described Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot as the party’s assets. Rahul has been talking about using Gehlot’s experience and Pilot’s energy. But this time, the party is in a mood to give a strong message regarding indiscipline. Sources also reveal that senior Congress leaders have reported to the high command that Sachin Pilot may change party before the assembly elections.

Polling for all 224 assembly seats in Karnataka will be held on May 10, and the counting of votes will take place on May 13. The Congress had released its fourth list of 7 candidates a day earlier. On March 25, the party released its first list of 124 candidates for the Karnataka Assembly elections.