‘False news’: Pilot rebuts report that he complained to Cong bosses about Gehlot
Loyalists of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot and ex-deputy CM Sachin Pilot have been in a battle over the appointment of the next chief minister of the state should the former run for Congress president's post.
Congress leader and former deputy chief minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot on Tuesday refuted reports of him speaking with the party high command against CM Ashok Gehlot continuing to be in his current role.
Taking to Twitter, Pilot responded to a report that said he told the Congress high command that Gehlot should not remain chief minister of Rajasthan if he decides to run for the party's presidential elections, and that it's the ex-deputy CM's responsibility to bring MLAs together. “Am afraid this is false news being reported,” Pilot wrote in the post.
Minutes later, the news report updated that Pilot has dismissed the claims saying he has neither spoken with the Congress high command nor with Rajasthan CM.
The crisis in the northern state that is pinned between the camps of Pilot and Gehlot intensified on Sunday evening when more than 90 MLAs skipped the Congress legislative party meeting at the chief minister's residence in the presence of party's central observers Ajay Maken and Mallikarjun Kharge.
The revolting lawmakers held a parallel meeting at the residence of Rajasthan cabinet minister and Gehlot loyalist Shanti Dhariwal instead, following which they dramatically handed their resignation to speaker CP Joshi.
Maken and Kharge were sent to Jaipur by the Congress central leadership in Delhi. The Gehlot camp are hell-bent on not accepting Pilot, who is eyeing the top post in the state with the former’s elevation as national Congress president.
They have demanded someone from their side of over 100 MLAs be given the responsibility.
Pilot had revolted against the Gehlot-headed Congress government two years before, which had triggered massive turmoil in the state. His initiative was unsuccessful, and the matter was eventually settled.
Maken and Kharge, went back to Delhi on Monday evening, and later met Congress interim boss Sonia Gandhi. Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Maken said Gandhi has sought a written report on the scenario in Rajasthan. The party leader earlier termed the move by Gehlot loyalists to hold a separate meeting instead of attending the CLP one in Jaipur as an “act of indiscipline”.
Meanwhile, the rebellion by Gehlot loyalists is expected to have caused the CM to lose the backing of the Gandhi family. He met Kharge on Monday before the latter departed for Delhi with Maken, and reportedly told him that the separate meeting of the MLAs should not have occurred. The Rajasthan CM also denied having any hand at the rebellion, HT reported.
Gehlot's nomination for the forthcoming Congress presidential polls remains in the dark. On Monday, members of Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body in the party, urged Gandhi to pull Gehlot out of the race owing to the turn of events in his state.
The party's Madhya Pradesh unit president Kamal Nath, who was immediately called to the national capital in view of the Rajasthan crisis, met Gandhi on Monday. Later, he insisted that he has no interest in being her successor.
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