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Cracks widen in Rajasthan congress as Gehlot calls pilot ‘Gaddar’, ex-Deputy CM hits back

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot sparked another row with his former deputy Sachin Pilot on Thursday, calling him a “gaddar” (traitor) who cannot replace him as he had rebelled against the Congress in 2020 and tried to to overthrow his government.

The comment drew a sharp response from Pilot, who said it was inappropriate for Gehlot to make such “baseless” accusations, and that it was not the time for “mud-slinging”.

Gehlot’s comment came as Pilot’s camp pushed Congress to make him prime minister. In an interview with NDTV, the CM reiterated its position on the matter and said that the Congress high command cannot appoint Sachin Pilot as Chief Minister. “A gaddar (traitor) cannot be Chief Minister… a man who does not have 10 MLAs, who rebelled against his own party”.

He alleged that Pilot had conspired with the BJP to overthrow his government in 2020 and handed out money in an attempt to buy MLAs. of the party would improve in next year’s polls.

“The MLAs will never accept anyone who has rebelled and been labeled a ‘gaddar’. How can he become prime minister? How can the MLAs accept someone like that as prime minister? I have evidence that Rs 10 crore each was distributed to the MLAs who had holed up in a Gurugram resort for overthrowing the Congress government in Rajasthan,” Gehlot said.

No one should be so insecure, pilot says

Pilot, who walked alongside Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, hit back. “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,” he said.

“It doesn’t look good for a senior leader like Ashok ji, who has such vast experience, to make such unfounded accusations. It’s no time for such mud-throwing. The effort on our part should be to work in unison so that we can have a government in Gujarat, where Ashok ji is a senior observer, and repeat the Congress government in Rajasthan,” he told ANI news agency.

AICC does damage control

The AICC stepped in to do damage control, saying Gehlot’s differences with Pilot would be “resolved” in a way that strengthens the party.

In a statement, AICC General Secretary Communications Jairam Ramesh claimed that the focus should now be on ensuring the success of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

“Ashok Gehlot is a senior and experienced political leader. Whatever disagreements he has expressed with his younger colleague Sachin Pilot, it will be resolved in a way that strengthens the Congress party. At this point, it is the duty of every Congressman and Congressman to make the already hugely successful Bharat Jodo Yatra even more impact in the North Indian states,” said Ramesh.

Gurjar leader demands high order from congress to make pilot CM

Gurjar leader Vijay Singh Bainsla on Thursday threatened to oppose Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Rajasthan unless Sachin Pilot becomes the CM. Despite this, Pilot refused to side with the Gurjar leader’s allegation, saying that the BJP was trying to cause disturbances. “No matter how hard the BJP tries, the yatra will be successful,” Pilot had said when asked about Bainsla’s threat.

Earlier, Gehlot had said his government will try to allay Bainsla’s grievances. “This is democracy and everyone has the right to speak. We govern on the basis of the Constitution and the right to speak cannot be taken away from us. If there is a question or suggestion, we will listen to it and try to address the grievances,” he said.

In his remarks, Bainsala said that the Gurjar community had voted Congress into power in Rajasthan believing that a person from their community will become CM. To this, Pilot said that the Congress was reduced to 21 seats in the 2013 parliamentary elections, but the people gave it a mandate in the 2018 elections. Speaking of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the former deputy chief minister said he was confident in it that the yatra will be “historic” and that people are enthusiastic.

Meanwhile, sources suggest that Pilot and his supporters are expecting a decision soon. As rumblings of dissent grow in the desert state before the Bharat Jodo Yatra enters it on December 3, supporters of Pilot reportedly said time is running out and he should be appointed Chief Minister at the earliest as the Gandhis had a commitment done. Meanwhile, Gehlot’s supporters continue to insist that Pilot tried to overthrow the government by joining the BJP.

Earlier on Wednesday, both Pilot and Gehlot participated in a rally organized by Rahul Gandhi in connection with the planned arrival of Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jaipur. According to reports, both refused to face eye to eye during the meeting and also did not sit together.

The two have been embroiled in a power struggle since the government came to power in 2018.

Gehlot’s September Uprising

Matters came to a head earlier this year in September when Congress was in the process of choosing the next party chairman.

In September, about 92 legislators from the Gehlot camp attended a parallel meeting hosted by Shanti Dhariwal at his residence in Jaipur and skipped the meeting of the Legislative Party convened for the passage of a resolution authorizing the Congress Chief to appoint a successor for Gehlot, who had then announced to contest for the congressional presidential election.

The MLAs had opposed the possible elevation of Gehlot’s archrival Sachin Pilot to the CM post and demanded that Gehlot’s successor be chosen from his camp. They also mentioned Pilot’s 2020 uprising and said the party should reward those who assisted it during that crisis.

Later, the Congress charged three Rajasthan ministers – Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi, and Dharmendra Rathore – for ‘serious indiscipline’. from the congressional presidential race.

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