'Stay, join BJP or go solo?' Sachin Pilot's future has Rajasthan Congress at attention
The former deputy CM of Rajasthan has conveyed his “unwavering” position on his three key demands and is waiting for party’s response before taking next step.
Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot is still weighing his options, which includes setting up his own political outfit, but any decision is unlikely to take place on 11 June on the occasion of his father Rajesh Pilot’s death anniversary.
The former deputy chief minister of Rajasthan has conveyed his “unwavering” position on his three key demands and is waiting for the party’s response before taking the next step, functionaries close to Pilot maintained, seeking anonymity.
“For the past 22 years, Rajesh Pilot’s death anniversary has been observed with a prayer meeting. This year, too, no other programme has been planned,” a leader close to Pilot said. “If a political rally had to happen on that day, the preparations would have started much earlier.”
Congress general secretary Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said there was no possibility of Pilot floating a political party and 90% of the issues by him has been resolved.
“Pilot neither had this intention before nor does he have now,” Randhawa said at a media briefing in Jaipur.
Both Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi on May 29 in New Delhi. In the meeting, Pilot reiterated his three demands—to probe corruption charges during the Vasundhara Raje regime, disband the Rajasthan Public Service Commission and provide compensation to those affected by government job exam paper leak cases.
“We sat and held discussions for around four hours in Delhi. Everyone including Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal spoke. We heard both the leaders,” Randhawa said. “They both were told that together you are the asset of Congress. They both said they will work together.”
The party is ready to give a plump posting to Pilot in the central leadership, but he has not agreed to any offer that takes him out of Rajasthan before the assembly elections in December, a Congress leader said, declining to be named.
In such a scenario, the Pilot camp has not ruled out forming a new party before the election. “But it will not happen in haste. Pilot will wait for the next few days to see how the party responds to his demands,” said the leader close to him.
While Pilot had been described as an “asset” by the party, a prominent section of the Congress feels he has to wait. “He is 45. He has already become a Union minister, pradesh Congress committee chief and deputy chief minister,” another functionary said.
Pilot, who has campaigned in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar in the past two years, has done so without any official position in the party. With elections in Rajasthan due in the next six months, his options are limited.
“Already six days have passed after the meeting at Kharge’s house. No visible action have been initiated to address some of his concerns,” said a Pilot aide. Another leader argued that the party will tread cautiously with elections round the corner.
“After our experiment in Punjab failed (where the Congress replaced chief minister Amrinder Singh five months before the election and lost the polls), there is no such scope in Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh,” the AICC leader said, wishing to remain unnamed.