Former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, after his meeting with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, said on Monday that his rebellion was a fight for principles, PTI reported. Earlier in the day, the All India Congress Committee formed a three-member committee to address the grievances of Pilot and other dissident MLAs.
Pilot’s meeting with the Congress leaders in Delhi was the first since the political crisis started last month and came four days before the crucial Rajasthan Assembly session on August 14. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is expected to prove the Congress government’s majority on the floor of the House during the session.
The ousted deputy chief minister told reporters that he and other rebel MLAs flagged organisational problems, the notice from Special Operations Group and the style of governance in Rajasthan. “We raised issues of principles before the Congress leadership and welcome their assurance of time-bound redressal of our grievances,” he added. “I don’t crave for any post or hanker after any position. The party has given a position and can take it back.”
In a veiled attack at Gehlot, the 42-year-old said that personal remarks were made against him, but he maintained his dignity. The chief minister had called him “nikamma” or useless. “Several things were said,” Pilot said. “I heard a lot of things. I was surprised by a few things that were said. I think we should always maintain restraint and humility. There is no place for personal malice in politics. We had formed government in Rajasthan after five years of hard work.”
The former chief of the Congress’ Rajasthan unit also said that he had worked hard to bring the party to power in Rajasthan and hoped its leaders would fulfill promises made to the people.
In a tweet, he thanked Gandhis and other senior leaders for addressing their grievances. “I stand firm in my belief and will continue working for a better India, to deliver on promises made to the people of Rajasthan and protect democratic values we cherish,” Pilot said.
However, the agreement reached between Pilot and the party leadership is not clear yet.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal said both Pilot and Gehlot were happy, ANI reported. He attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying that the resolution of the crisis was a “direct slap” on the saffron party’s “anti-democratic” face.
“They are the people doing such horse-trading and sabotaging democratically elected government,” Venugopal said. “This is actually a message to BJP’s wrong-doings.”
The story so far
Gehlot has repeatedly accused Pilot of colluding with the BJP to topple his government. But Pilot has rejected the allegations and asserted that he had no plans to join the saffron party.
Pilot has insisted on the removal of Gehlot as chief minister as the precondition for any sort of rapprochement. The Congress, on the other hand, has asked him and his legislators to “give up the hospitality” of the Bharatiya Janata Party before initiating any dialogue to end the political impasse.
The Gehlot camp has been claiming the support of 102 MLAs, including the Independents, in the 200-member Assembly. Without six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs who had defected to the Congress in September last year, the numbers drop to 96. The Bharatiya Janata Party has 72 MLAs. The majority mark in the Assembly is 101.
Gehlot is hoping that the Congress MLAs supporting Pilot, who were camping in BJP-ruled Haryana, would return to the party fold when the Assembly session begins. He had also appealed to all MLAs to “stand with the truth” and “listen to the voice of the people to save democracy”.