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Congress High Command Efforts to Balance Between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot

Congress High Command Efforts to Balance Between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Nov 25: Adopting a middle course in the light of the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot mounting an all-out attack on his former deputy Sachin Pilot repeatedly calling him a traitor, the Congress high command on Friday said it was taking steps to resolve the differences between the two leaders with Rajasthan going to the state Assembly elections in about a year’s time.

“The Congress leadership will discuss how to resolve this. We are a family, and the Congress needs both an experienced leader like Ashok Gehlot and an energetic youth leader like Sachin Pilot,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said.

Many of the high command leaders admit that some of the harsh words used by Gehlot for Pilot were unwarranted and uncalled for. Mr Ramesh admitted that certain words used by the Chief Minister were “unexpected” and “surprising.” “Some words used in the interview were unexpected. Many were surprised,” he said. “Even I am surprised by the words used (by Gehlot),” he added.

The statement appears to be a step up from yesterday, when the Congress issued a play-safe statement, holding back from criticizing Mr Gehlot. “There are some differences that will be resolved. There is no climate of fear in our party. People say whatever comes to their mind. The High Command is not dictatorial,” Mr Ramesh had said in a statement.

Both are senior leaders and critical to the party, he said. “The organisation is supreme, not individuals. Any solution should take that into account. Right now, it is the duty of every Congressman to make the Bharat Jodo yatra a success in north India just like in southern states,” the former Union Minister asserted.

In his trenchant attack on Pilot, Mr Gehlot had said his former deputy chief minister, who also was the state Congress president, was a “traitor” who attempted to overthrow his own party government with the help of the BJP.
“A gaddar (traitor) cannot be Chief Minister. The High Command cannot make Sachin Pilot the Chief Minister… a man who doesn’t have 10 MLAs. Who revolted. He betrayed the party, (he) is a traitor,” Mr Gehlot, 71, said, sharply escalating a feud that threatens to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s yatra in Rajasthan.

“It must be a first for India that a party president tried to bring down his own government,” Mr Gehlot said of Mr Pilot’s 2020 revolt, alleging that it “was funded by the BJP” and enabled by senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah. Mr Gehlot also said the Congress could replace him with any of its 102 MLAs in Rajasthan but for Mr Pilot.

“The MLAs will never accept someone who has revolted and has been dubbed as a gaddar. How can he become the chief minister? How can the MLAs accept such a person as the chief minister? I have proof that ₹ 10 crore each were distributed to the MLAs holed up in a Gurugram resort for toppling the Congress government in Rajasthan,” Mr Gehlot had said.

Mr Pilot, who had joined Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the yatra earlier in the day, had refuted the allegations that his rebellion was inspired by the BJP. He had remarked that before calling him “gaddar”, Mr Gehlot had called him “nikamma (incompetent)” in the past.

“These allegations are false and completely unnecessary at a time we need to put up a united fight against BJP… It is unbecoming for such a senior leader to say such things at a time like this,” he said, adding that someone so senior should focus on elections in Gujarat, where he is in charge of the campaign.

 

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