Four years after Ashok Gelot scared a saffron party in Gujarat as the state party in charge, his health minister Raghu Sharma now has the same task. party as Gujarat heads for elections in 2022.
Several factors influenced Sharma’s choice for this post. First, unlike 2017, Gehlot is now the Chief Minister. Then he brought the party closer to victory in Gujarat over the past decades.
Like CM Rajasthan, he may not play the same role in Gujarat, but his experience in the state is irreplaceable. Party sources said Gelot will play an important role “in the background” through Sharma, who is not entirely known for his political acumen. So, Gehlot will be monitoring developments in Gujarat while Sharma is doing footwork.
Secondly, Sharma has a good equality with Gelot and they both have great coordination. The best example is the treatment of Covid in Rajasthan, where the state was relatively better off than some of its neighbors. While Gelot was leading from the front, Sharma, as Minister of Health, complemented him well in overseeing measures to combat the disease.
Sharma said at a press conference on Saturday that he had not yet spoken in detail with Gelot in Gujarat, but praised him for his “excellent results” and said that he would learn from his experience “if necessary”.
Third, Sharma is a Brahmin, and since the Saffron Party plays identity politics, it matters because Congress needs to tune the optics properly. Arriving in Gujarat on Saturday for an alleged three-day visit to the state, Sharma first went to pray at the Bhadrakali Temple in Ahmedabad.
Fourthly, there was a suggestion that the pilot could be transferred to the command of the party. Instead, when responsibility is transferred to Sharma, it strengthens Hehlot’s status and helps him consolidate the squad in Rajasthan. He also sends a subtle message that, unlike in Punjab, CM is in charge of the party’s top command. Then, through Sharma, and earlier through Harish Chaudhary as a party observer from Punjab, Congress also hopes to raise leaders in Rajasthan besides Pilot, who is currently next in state only to Gelot.
Fifth, Sharma has been active in politics since his youth and is known for his assertiveness when necessary. “This will help him connect with youth leaders in the state such as Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani, and he should also have no problem not being taken seriously by senior party members, ”said one of the party leaders. Sharma said Saturday, “When someone is sent to prison at the age of 17 or 18 while they are engaged in student politics, then that person is not concerned about ED, information technology, prison and the courts.”
Finally, Sharma is not entirely new to Gujarat politics, and in the 2002 Assembly elections he worked in four districts close to the border with Rajasthan – Mehsan, Banaskant, Sabarkant and Patan – working for the party in more than two dozen Assembly constituencies. He said on Saturday that he also accompanied Sunil Dutt on his 2005 Dandi. Yatra when Dutt was chairman of the yatra.
Sharma first became the MLA between 2008 and 2013 and then MP for Ajmer in 2018 as a result of a police bypass. He stepped down from the MP in December 2018 after being elected as the MLA by Kekri in Ajmer. Taking responsibility for the prime minister and minister of the interior in his home state, Sharma said that “the task must be difficult. And if you can find a way to deal with this problem, it will be your hard work. ” Sharma said that during his three-day visit, he will hold face-to-face meetings “with senior leaders and front-line organizations,” as well as with all party MLAs and district presidents.