Sachin Pilot falls in line after Rahul meet, settles for 3-member panel to hear his side
Sachin Pilot decision to stay in the Congress ensures the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government that is set to face a trust vote when the Rajasthan assembly meets on 14 AugustUpdated: Aug 10, 2020 20:00 IST
The Congress on Monday decided to form a high-level committee to look into the grievances of all its rebel leaders in Rajasthan after Sachin Pilot met former party president Rahul Gandhi to end the revolt in the state unit that threatened the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government, people familiar with the development said.
“They have had a frank, open and conclusive discussion. Shri Sachin Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan,” Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said in a statement hours after Sachin Pilot’s hush-hush meeting with Rahul Gandhi on Monday.
Venugopal said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had decided to set up a three-member committee to address the issues raised by “Sachin Pilot and the aggrieved MLA and arrive at an appropriate resolution thereof”.
Congress leaders said the panel will have senior leaders as members and will “hear all the sides and also go into the details of the political turmoil” in the state unit before submitting its report to the high command.
The pact ends the uncertainty for the Rajasthan government run by Ashok Gehlot that had been teetering on the edge for a month ever since Pilot and his group of 18 lawmakers parked themselves in Delhi and Gurugram in early July. Gehlot, who has claimed the support of 102 MLAs in a 200-member assembly, is due to face a trust vote when the state assembly meets on 14 August.
The support from Sachin Pilot’s camp gives him the cushion that he had lost when Pilot left with his lawmakers loyal to him, reportedly irked over summons received from the police probing a sedition case against people who wanted to bring down the Gehlot government. The rebellion cost Pilot and two of his loyalist members their cabinet berths.
Pilot, who was the state’s deputy chief minister and state Congress chief, was also evicted from the two posts. As his camp refused to respond to appeals to head back home from the Congress, Gehlot let it be known that the two of them hadn’t been on talking terms for 18 months and accused Pilot of plotting with the BJP for six months to pull down his government.
It is not clear if Pilot’s next role in the party would have anything to do with Rajasthan or Gehlot. Asked if Rajasthan will be out of bounds for Pilot, the functionary said, “We are not aware of any promise given to him by Rahul Gandhi. What transpired between them at the personal level is not known to us.”
The functionary quoted above also said that many rebel leaders, including seven-time legislator Bhanwarlal Sharma, had established contact with Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation KC Venugopal on Sunday and subsequently met Gehlot on Monday to assure him of his support.
He claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not play ball as its house is divided in Rajasthan and there were also apprehensions that some of its legislators were not keen to go with Pilot and other rebel Congress leaders.
“With BJP a divided house and the Congress taking a strong stand, the rebel legislators were feeling the heat and that is why they started approaching our central leadership,” he added.