Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s ‘gaddar’ (traitor) remark to fellow Congress leader Sachin Pilot sparked a row on Thursday. A day later, the party said it was “baffled” by Gehlot’s choice of words for Pilot. His remarks came amid attempts by the Pilot camp leaders to make him Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said Friday that Gehlot’s comments were “unexpected” and “surprising”. “The words used by Ashok Gehlot were unexpected and surprising to many congress leaders. Congress is a family and the leadership will discuss a way to resolve the matter. The party needs an experienced leader like Ashok Gehlot as well as an energetic youth leader like Sachin Pilot,” he told NDTV.
Earlier on Thursday, Ramesh had condemned CM Gehlot’s comment and said the differences should be resolved in a way that strengthens the Congress. “Ashok Gehlot is a senior and experienced political leader. Whatever disagreements he has expressed with his younger colleague Sachin Pilot will be resolved in a way that will make the Congress stronger,” he had said.
In an interview with NDTV on Thursday, Gehlot had done everything he could to defeat Sachin Pilot and his camp’s attempts to strip him of the CM post. Gehlot rejected the demand, saying that a “gaddar (traitor) cannot be prime minister”. He reiterated his position on the issue, saying that the congressional high command cannot appoint Sachin Pilot as Chief Minister, “a man who has no 10 MLAs, who has rebelled against his own party”.
Speaking about Sachin Pilot’s 2020 uprising, Gehlot said it was “funded by the BJP”. “In a first for India, a party’s own president tried to bring it down.” he said, adding that it was made possible by senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah.
Not too long after Gehlot’s comments, Sachin Pilot replied back saying, “This is no time for accusations. No one should be so insecure. Under his leadership, Congress has lost the battle twice. Nothing is permanent in politics and we must work together to defeat the BJP.”
While Ashok Gehlot claimed that BJP was behind efforts to remove him from the CM post in 2020, Pilot replied, “Only Congress can challenge the BJP in the country. Elections are underway in Gujarat, where Ashok Gehlot is in charge. We must fight a united fight to defeat the BJP.”
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