Magic runs in Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s genes.

The magician’s son can pull out political rabbits in a jiffy, stunning his political adversaries.

Just when his election as Congress president — the first Congressperson outside the Gandhi-Nehru family to head the party since 1998 — appeared a near certainty, his MLA loyalists moved to resign en masse from the Rajasthan assembly on Sunday.

The Gehlot gambit was obvious — he does not want to be replaced in Jaipur by Sonia-Rahul-Priyanka Gandhi’s nominee Sachin Pilot, who he is clearly allergic to.

Dominic Xavier wonders how a rebel leader — and clearly, Gehlot is one after Sunday’s rebellion by his MLA supporters, no matter his assertions to the high command’s emissaries that he has no links to the mutiny — can now lead the national party which so badly needs the adhesive of unity and tender care.

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