Gehlot says he has proof, after Sachin Pilot denies plotting against govt with the BJP

Sachin Pilot and his followers have been sent disqualification notices and asked to reply by Friday.
CM ashok Gehlot and Deputy CM Sachin pilot lead State Congress Committee's protest march against wrong economic policies of the Central government and removal of SPG cover of the Gandhi family, in Jaipur on Friday. photo-ht
CM ashok Gehlot and Deputy CM Sachin pilot lead State Congress Committee's protest march against wrong economic policies of the Central government and removal of SPG cover of the Gandhi family, in Jaipur on Friday. photo-ht
Updated on Jul 15, 2020 06:10 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday claimed that his team had proof that Congress MLAs were being lured into a rebellion against the state government. He said the attempts to topple his government have been going on since some time, forcing the party to sequester all party MLAs in a Jaipur hotel on multiple occasions. He added that the current crisis would have unfolded before had the party not been on guard.

“Horse trading was being done in Jaipur, we have the proof. We had to keep people at a hotel for 10 days, if we had not done that, the same thing that is happening in Manesar now would have happened back then,” Ashok Gehlot was reported as saying by a news agency.

Gehlot’s statement follows his former deputy Sachin Pilot’s denial of planning the Congress government’s downfall in conjunction with the opposition party, the BJP. Sachin, who is camping with several of his loyal party MLAs at a Manesar hotel, also declared that he was not joining the BJP. His statement was a counter to Gehlot camp’s persistent claims that Pilot had fallen trap to a BJP plot to overthrow the Rajasthan government.

Gehlot, also in a broad swipe at Sachin Pilot, claimed that the “new generation” in politics didn’t have the patience to wait for their turn.

“I have been in politics for 40 years, we love the new generation, the future will be theirs. This new generation, they have become central ministers, state presidents. if they had gone through what we did in our time, they would have understood,” Gehlot was quoted as saying.

Gehlot’s statement is a reflection of an opinion gaining ground among the old guard in the Congress that the young leaders ought to wait for their turn in the pecking order, bringing to fore the friction between the young and the old guard in the party.

While yesterday, a few party young guns including Priya Dutt, Jitin Prasada and Shashi Tharoor had expressed sympathy for Pilot, several senior party leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, Veerappa Moily, have come out today hitting out at the young generation for being in a hurry at the expense of the party.

Pilot, however, had alleged a counter-plot to weaken his position within the party, especially before the Gandhis-- a reference to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son and former party president Rahul Gandhi and her daughter and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. He didn’t specifically name Gehlot for plotting his downfall but the opposition BJP has not been mincing words while accusing Gehlot of “having produced, scripted, directed and acted in a film” aimed at ousting his challenger Sachin Pilot from the party.

While party national general secretary and Rajasthan in-charge Avinash Pande suggested it was still not the end of the road for Pilot in the party, the sword of disqualification from the state assembly hangs over Pilot and his 18 followers, who have been asked to explain their position by Friday. Party chief whip Mahesh Joshi has asked the assembly speaker to disqualify Pilot and his supporters claiming they have been plotting against the party and deliberately disobeyed a whip to attend legislative council meetings in Jaipur over the past two days.

Among those sent notices are Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena, who were sacked along with Pilot from the state cabinet after their rebellion against CM Gehlot. Deepender Singh Shekhawat, Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Harish Chandra Meena, who had given statements against the Gehlot government, are others on the chopping block.

On Tuesday, Sachin Pilot was sacked as deputy chief minister and the state Congress president after he did not attend the Congress legislature party (CLP) meetings, held over Monday and Tuesday. Two other ministers loyal to him were also given the boot from the Cabinet.

In another important move, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) has dissolved all district and block party committees in the state, said Avinash Pande.

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