Congress gives Sachin Pilot a to-do list, asks him to prove his intentions
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala’s call for evidence came in a video message put out by the party that started with declaring that the BJP conspiracy to topple the Gehlot government had failed.Updated: Jul 16, 2020 09:11 IST
Having secured the Ashok Gehlot-led government, the Congress on Wednesday maintained its hard stance on Sachin Pilot and told him to reject the hospitality of the Haryana government and come back to Jaipur to prove his claim that he did not want to go with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala’s call for evidence came in a video message put out by the party that started with declaring that the BJP conspiracy to topple the Gehlot government had failed.
Surjewala then listed what Sachin Pilot, who he pointedly and repeatedly referred to as a youth leader - should do to prove his intentions.
Reject the hospitality of the BJP-led Haryana government and come back to your home in Jaipur, Surjewala said, asking Pilot to get Congress legislators sequestered in two Gurugram hotels where, he said, they were being guarded by Haryana’s security forces. The remarks indicate hardening of the stand of the central leadership after Ashok Gehlot claimed that he has proof of his involvement in toppling the government
Come back and you can talk to the leadership about all the issues that you have directly, not through the media, he said.
But Surjewala made it clear that the party didn’t think that Pilot’s effort to reduce the Gehlot government to a minority was a stand-alone effort. He underlined the various efforts that had been made over the last five days to retain Pilot.
In the last five days, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and the Congress leadership in a large-hearted gesture kept all doors open for Sachin Pilot. The top leadership - a reference to the Gandhi family - and two Congress Working Committee members told him that if he still supported the Congress, he should at least tell the media waiting outside his hotel that you stand with the Congress. This message was conveyed by the Congress leadership half-a-dozen times and by two Congress Working Committee members, a dozen more.
But Sachin Pilot did not make this statement.
It was only after all these efforts to placate Sachin Pilot didn’t convince Pilot and the lawmakers supporting him that the Congress, “with a heavy heart”, had to act.
Pilot was yesterday sacked as Rajasthan’s deputy chief minister and state party chief. The Congress also started the process to disqualify Pilot and 18 lawmakers who had skipped the two Congress legislature party meetings from the state assembly. Pilot and his supporters have been given time till Friday to respond to the notice.
Surjewala’s message to Pilot came hours after Ashok Gehlot lashed out at his younger, “ambitious” colleagues, a clear reference to Sachin Pilot, who he accused of colluding with the BJP. Gehlot said he had proof that some people from the about the involvement of his party colleagues.
“We have proof that horse trading was being committed. Money was offered. And who gave clarification that nothing was happening? Those leaders, who themselves were involved and part of the conspiracy, were giving clarifications,” Gehlot said, claiming that he has evidence of horse trading taking place.
“With us, you are Deputy CM and PCC and you make deals with (BJP) people. You ask for mobile number and names and are involved in conspiracy and then they give clarification that there was no horse trading. You were part of the conspiracy and what are you clarifying now,” he said, clearly determined that the party does not come under pressure to go easy on Sachin Pilot.