Returns to Jaipur after striking peace deal in Delhi with Cong. leadership
Nearly a month after he broke ranks with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and staged a rebellion, Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Tuesday returned to Jaipur to a tumultuous welcome by his supporters. Having struck a peace deal with the party leadership in Delhi, Mr. Pilot said he had not demanded any post and there was no scope for “vendetta politics”.
Mr. Pilot, accompanied by several dissident MLAs, drove down from New Delhi to his official residence in the State Capital’s Civil Lines, where a large number of party workers gathered and garlanded him, while raising slogans in his support. Firecrackers were also burst outside the District Congress office in Tonk, which is Mr. Pilot’s Assembly constituency.
Gehlot for Jaisalmer
Even before Mr. Pilot reached here, Mr. Gehlot left for Jaisalmer to preside over a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting at a resort where the MLAs supporting him have been sequestered. While attacking the BJP for ‘hatching a conspiracy’ to topple his government, Mr. Gehlot said it was his responsibility to win back the hearts of the rebel MLAs.
Mr. Pilot’s meeting with the top leadership on Monday has led to a truce between the rival factions in the party and signalled an end to the month-long political turmoil ahead of the crucial Assembly session beginning on August 14. He said here that he had neither made any statement against the party nor demanded any post for himself.
“I am shocked and hurt by the kind of words which were used against me, but I did not feel the need to respond [to them]. There should not be any space for personal ill-feeling in politics,” Mr. Pilot said when asked about the remarks made by Mr. Gehlot during the crisis.
Mr. Pilot said the issues raised by him related to the government’s functioning, workers’ participation and dignity and self-respect of those who had worked hard to bring the party to power in 2018. “If I have reservations about the working style of someone, I have a right to complain about it,” he asserted.
BJP’s bid failed: Gehlot
Earlier, Mr. Gehlot told reporters here before leaving for Jaisalmer that the BJP’s attempts to topple his government had failed because all the Congress MLAs remained together and not a single legislator left. “None of our MLAs fell for horse-trading. They have made history,” he asserted.
“Peace and brotherhood” would prevail in the party and the future road map would be decided as per the decision to constitute a three-member committee. If the MLAs of his party were angry with him, it was his responsibility to satisfy them and win back their hearts.
“I have told all the MLAs that I will take care of them as a guardian as I long as I am alive. They have full faith in the Congress high command and in me. We will come up to their expectations and try to resolve all the grievances of those who had left,” he said, while affirming that his government would complete its full term of five years and the Congress would win the 2023 Assembly elections as well.
Meanwhile, the hearing in the Rajasthan High Court on the petitions of the Bahujan Samaj Party and BJP MLA Madan Dilawar challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress remained inconclusive on Tuesday. The Single Judge Bench of Justice Mahendra Goyal adjourned the matter for further hearing on August 13.