Dear Pilot, Do not let us down

Rajasthan's politics has been toxic for years, a quintessential 2 party BJP vs INC competition. We’ve been alternating the name of chief ministers from Raje to Gehlot for the past 22 years. Despite continuous reins of the two governments, the state hasn’t drastically changed over the years. We couldn’t develop the modern-day engines of growth like Bangalore’s and Gurugram’s. With an abundance of minerals, a tourist paradise, and an agricultural hub, Rajasthan still totters abysmal human development indicators. It stands at position 29 in the country, compared internationally, we are at par with East Timor (its capital is Dili). Per capita GDP wise, we are ranked 22nd in the country.

As residents, We have all witnessed infrastructure projects stuck half-built as the present incumbents won’t finish the task of previous governments. This has been a perpetual cycle that comes at a cost of discomfort to the public but wait who cares?

Without getting into the caste dynamics and the Andolans bands etc — both the parties have ruined the system for years and as the voters don’t have much of a choice, they continued hopelessly to elect one or the other alternatively.

Well! This scenario actually takes me back to the early 2011–12’s, when we were tired of the incessant corruption scandals of UPA2, its misgovernance, and a mute Prime minister. There wasn’t much faith in BJP as well which was directionless and still appeared a primitive party with Hindu Muslim, Ram temple as its core electoral agenda. But something changed with Anna Hazare’s IAC movement and a ray of hope spread across the country. It was a reawakening moment for the republic as once again the masses were taking over the mighty state apparatus. The offshoot of Anna's movement — Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) enthused youngsters who looked upon Kejriwal as a common educated man who didn’t wear the essential White kurta pajama ( which is still rare) sweaters and mufflers represented the emergence of a new fresh wave into the toxic setup. And then came the mighty Modi with the Gujarat model and development agenda. The nation almost felt that it got what it wanted.

Well, none of the experience worked out as anticipated. While Kejriwal turned out to be an autocratic leader sidelining almost everyone who came in his way and Modi’s India is certainly not even remotely close to what he promised. That is a topic for another day.

I recount this scenario today as this is a ripe moment for Rajasthan to discover its third front. If one can believe the media ( one shouldn’t) that Pilot is not joining the BJP. It will be great if he forms his own party. He is young and ambitious, 40 is the perfect middle life crisis into opportunity age. He is still admired across the state and perhaps nation for his youthful charm, calmly composed exposure, and someone who appears practical to things. When over 100 infants died in Kota government hospital, he said we’ve been in power for over a year, we shouldn’t blame it to anyone else, It is our fault and we are sorry. I wonder when was it the last time a leader acknowledged the shortcoming with so much grace. This is considering we are living in times when almost anything is defended by those in power (eg. demonetization) with so much vigor and rigor.

His decision of not joining the BJP will also reinstate the trust people impose in leaders for their opinions and the ideologies they upheld. I know this is rare for the times when party hopping, defection, and resort politics is the language of the day but I guess Sachin Pilot is that rare few who don’t wanna end up on the same side when the history of this place will be written.

His friend and colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia might have switched sides but mother who hails from Gwalior tells me Scindhias are never to be trusted was the word since the times of 1857 revolt. So not much was anyway expected from them and rather from all the erstwhile royals, they are better known for hopping sides. Morals aren’t their thing and as a matter of fact, our Former Congress MP Ijiyaraj Singh ( descendent of former Kota rulers) turned tables a month before the state election, securing a BJP MLA ticket for his wife Kalpana Devi. Politics and morals are also for another day.

It remains to be decided what will be Pilots next move, will he rejoin congress or join BJP or form his own party or let's say even leave politics permanently. Of the four scenarios, forming his own unit seems to be the most plausible in my overtly optimistic opinion. Of course, this piece rests on his word, if he hops then this won't age well. There is no denying Pilot's ambitions were clear from the beginning and the divide only drew deep. What's important here is to see how will he tread along the thin rope of ambition with integrity. Arguably, This is too much to ask of a politician but Republic in its 8th decade and a year of Gandhi's 150 years celebrations, we should raise the bar of our demands and not settle with the resort — chanakayaneetis as fait accompli.

Winding on a rather optimistic scenario that Pilot will not betray our trust and this won't need a part II — why did you let us down. Here’s a similar nostalgia from the past.

Me and my best friend on the first day of 2014, while coming back from maths tuition, stopped at the AAP office and formally joined the party after filling the form. We even got the cap that we wore home. We never traced the cap again and they don’t call us anymore for there is a posh sweet shop in place of their office now. But this tells volume of the enthusiasm and excitement Kejirwals idea enthused in two school going kids. If tomorrow Pilot is to form a party based on principles that matter to us, we will go, fill that form and join his party and come and vote for him from anywhere in the world.