Congress leader Sachin Pilot. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)
Congress leader Sachin Pilot. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

‘May have spoken to Tendulkar’: Pilot says held no talks with BJP

  • Joshi, who joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting the Congress, said Pilot was unhappy in the Congress and that she talked to him about joining the BJP.
By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jaipur
PUBLISHED ON JUN 12, 2021 02:58 AM IST

Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Thursday denied that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rita Bahuguna Joshi reached out to him and urged him to join their fold, something the latter claimed on a news channel .

Joshi, who joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting the Congress, said Pilot was unhappy in the Congress and that she talked to him about joining the BJP.

Bahuguna told a news channel that, “Congress has... lost its ground in north India and their party people are losing faith. I welcome him and for long was asking Jitin ji. I even called Sachin ji and told that people like you should be into positive politics to take the country ahead, support Narendra Modi and BJP.”

Dismissing her remark, Pilot said: “Rita Bahuguna Joshi claimed that she spoke to Sachin. She might have spoken to Sachin Tendulkar. She does not have the courage to speak to me.” Joshi could not be reached for a comment.

In July last year, Pilot, and his supporters left Jaipur to camp at a secret location in Haryana, threatening the stability of the Ashok Gehlot government. Pilot was removed as the state Congress president (and deputy CM), and it was only when the Gandhis intervened and set up a committee under general secretary Ajay Maken that he returned to the fold. Earlier this month, 43-year-old Pilot told HT that the panel has failed to resolve the issues and said: “It is unfortunate that so many of the party workers who worked and gave their all for getting us the mandate are not being heard.”

Pilot’s comments are significant as they come soon after the defection of Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Jitin Prasada to the BJP and after a committee appointed by the Congress leadership to resolve issues in Punjab, where CM Captain Amarinder Singh is up against dissidents in his own party led by Navjot Singh Sidhu, submitted its recommendations on Thursday.

Congress legislator Hemaram Choudhary, who resigned from the state assembly last month, met Pilot on Friday amid talks of internal rumblings again brewing in the party’s state unit. All India Congress Committee general secretary Bhanwar Jitendra Singh on Wednesday came out in support of Pilot, and said the promises made to him should be fulfilled.

“Whatever talks happened between the [Congress] high command and in-charge general secretary (Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) should be fulfilled. I believe there is nothing wrong if he has raised an issue. If some issue is unresolved, then it can be raised. In Congress, everyone is free to speak,” he said.

People familiar with the developments said that Priyanka Gandhi was working to resolve the turmoil brewing in the state unit and Pilot was slated to meet her in Delhi on Sunday. An MLA considered close to Pilot said on condition of anonymity that the former deputy CM is in touch with Priyanka Gandhi, who has asked him to be patient.

However, a person associated with Vadra’s office said there was no meeting planned between her and Pilot or Rajasthan unit, adding that the two leaders have been in touch from the beginning.

There was no response from the CMO till the time of press.

Political analyst Manish Godha said, “The Sachin Pilot faction is well aware that the time is running out – the government in Rajasthan has completed over 2.5 years and now not much time is left. The party is already in fix with the Punjab politics where Navjot Singh Siddhu is in confrontation with CM Captain Amarinder Singh, so this is the right time for Rajasthan dissident faction to get their deal done.”

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