Rajasthan political turmoil: Congress sacks Sachin Pilot, 2 ministers from Gehlot cabinet
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the Congress regrets that Sachin Pilot, and some of his supporting MLAs, fell trap to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s designs to destabilise the Gehlot government in Rajasthan.Updated: Jul 14, 2020 16:32 IST
Sachin Pilot, the Rajasthan deputy chief minister and two ministers in his camp have been dropped from the Ashok Gehlot cabinet, the Congress announced on Tuesday afternoon after the 42-year-old leader credited with leading the party’s successful campaign in the last elections refused to stand down.
Pilot had stayed away from the Congress legislature meeting in Jaipur on Monday that recommended action against him and other lawmakers of his camp. They had argued that if the party didn’t act against the rebels, it would send a wrong message.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot drove down to Raj Bhavan to make a formal request to the governor to drop Pilot and two ministers from his cabinet as soon as the meeting of lawmakers was over. Governor Kalraj Mishra accepted Gehlot’s recommendation. The two ministers who have been sacked are Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena.
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala stayed back to make the announcement. The Congress party regrets that deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and some of his supporting MLAs fell into the opposition BJP’s trap to destabilise the Gehlot government, he told the news conference before announcing Pilot’s sacking.
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Pilot has also been sacked as Rajasthan Congress chief. He has been replaced by Govind Singh Dotasara, the minister of education and tourism in Gehlot’s cabinet.
Congress lawmaker Ganesh Ghogra has been appointed to head the state’s youth Congress unit, replacing Mukesh Bhakar.
It is unfortunate that Sachin Pilot and some MLAs supporting him were misguided and became part of the conspiracy of the BJP to topple the Gehlot government. The Congress leader also listed the many posts that Pilot had been appointed to by the Congress, a reference to suggestions that he wanted the party to edge out Ashok Gehlot and appoint him as Rajasthan chief minister.
“The party always promoted Pilot from a very young age. He became an MP at 26, Union minister at 30-32, a State unit president at 34 and deputy chief minister at 40,” Surjewala said.
The Congress said Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other senior party leaders had tried to touch base with Sachin Pilot but in vain.
Sachin Pilot responded to news of his sacking delivered via the media with a one-line tweet. “The truth can be rattled, not defeated,” he said.
Minutes before the Congress legislators started their meeting, the two ministers who lost their cabinet posts for standing with Pilot put out a statement to counter the perception that they were fighting for a plum posts.
“We are taking a stand to protect our dignity and self respect at a time when our leader is threatened with notices from the SOG (Special Operations Group) under the charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy,” said a joint statement circulated by Vishvender Singh and Ramesh Meena.
A notice to the deputy chief minister was “unprecedented in India democracy and the Congress party”
“Public humiliation of our leader Mr. Pilot is something that is totally unacceptable to us, and those responsible for meeting out this treatment need to be made accountable. We are seeking to restore our self respect and are not clamouring for any posts,” the statement said.