Both Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot are assets for Congress: Rahul Gandhi

Updated on Nov 29, 2022 04:11 AM IST

Bhopal: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot are assets for the party and their ongoing power tussle will not affect the Bharat Jodo Yatra, party leader Rahul Gandhi said on Monday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Indore on Monday. (PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Indore on Monday. (PTI)

Bhopal: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot are assets for the party and their ongoing power tussle will not affect the Bharat Jodo Yatra, party leader Rahul Gandhi said on Monday.

Gandhi was addressing a press conference in Indore when he was asked about the latest verbal battle between Gehlot and his former deputy. On Thursday, Gehlot told news channel NDTV that Pilot is a “gaddar” (traitor) who cannot be made the chief minister. Hitting back, Pilot said the remarks were unbecoming of a senior leader.

“I don’t want to say anything on (their) comments. Both leaders are assets for us and I can say it won’t affect the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Gandhi told reporters.

Both Pilot and Gehlot have been bitter rivals for years but things came to a head in 2020 when the former rebelled against Gehlot’s leadership. Then, earlier this year, lawmakers considered close to Gehlot defied the party leadership’s diktat to allow the high-command to nominate the next chief minister – at the time, Gehlot was the frontrunner to become the next Congress president – because there was speculation that Pilot would become the next chief minister.

The verbal battle between Gehlot and Pilot last week erupted just days before the Bharat Jodo Yatra is scheduled to enter Rajasthan, on December 5, amid comments and counter comments by leaders from both camps.

Also read: BJP, Cong trade barbs over zila parishad results

The factionalism may also hurt the party ahead of elections scheduled next year. Rajasthan is one of only two states where the Congress is in power on its own.

Gandhi said the yatra was not being held for political purposes but to make people realise about the real identity of India, that is, “compassion, affection and mutual respect”.

“India was never a scared country. India is a brave country. When the British came to India, it was the worst time but this is also the worst time. Compassion, affection and mutual respect is the culture of India. Nobody thinks anger, hatred and arrogance could be a strength of India,” he said.

“Everybody knows. Even the President of America knows that India is a country of love, affection and mutual respect. In the yatra, I am trying to remind people of the real culture and DNA of India,” he added.

Asked how he plans to solve the issue of unemployment in the country, the Wayanad MP said: “By listening to the people, any problem can be solved. In India, there is a concentration of wealth and monopolies of people. A few people are getting all the money and monopoly on every business, whether its airport or telecom. Smaller and medium businesses are not getting the potential growth as required.”

The Congress will focus on creating small scale enterprises to generate more employment opportunities in the country, he said.

“We will listen to the people and come up with solutions. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are not listening to the voice of the people,” he added.

Also read: Form panel to manage funds released for SC community: Cong MLA

To a query on whether he would like to contest again from Amethi if given an opportunity, Gandhi said: “I don’t want to give any headline to the media as at present my focus is on the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The answer to your question on the issue will come after a year or one-and-a-half years.”

Union minister Smriti Irani had defeated Gandhi in Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    She is a senior reporter based at Bhopal. She covers higher education, social issues, youth affairs, woman and child development related issues, sports and business & industries.

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