Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot, who has pushed the Rajasthan government to the edge of getting dismantled, on Wednesday made it clear that he is not joining the BJP and is still a member of the grand old party.
Speaking with different media houses, he said he has no plans to join the BJP.
He also denied “hobnobbing” with the BJP to topple the Rajasthan government as claimed by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
“I am not joining the BJP. I would like to make it clear that I have no plans to join the BJP. Attempts to link me to the BJP are to malign me in the eyes of the Congress high-command,” Sachin Pilot was quoted as saying by NDTV.
He further insisted that he is still a Congressman.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, he said, “I am not joining BJP. Those saying that are just trying to lower me in Gandhis’ eyes”.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had on Tuesday given several indications that the rebel Congress leader may be joining the BJP after he was sacked from the posts of Rajasthan Congress president and State deputy chief minister.
Speaking to the media, Shekhawat said “Any leader with a mass base who wishes to join the BJP should be welcomed.”
In a major political development on Tuesday, the Congress sacked Sachin Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the state party chief after he skipped the Congress Legislative Party meeting for the second time in Jaipur.
Two other ministers, Vishvender Singh and Ramesh Meena, who joined him in his revolt, were also dropped.
In the CLP meeting, 102 MLAs were reportedly present showing their support to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and had unanimously demanded that Sachin Pilot be removed from the party.
Pilot skipped the meeting even after Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram and KC Venugopal tried speaking to him several times.
Immediately after his sacking from the top posts, Sachin Pilot had tweeted that “truth can be harassed but not defeated”.
On Monday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had held a CLP meeting which was skipped by Pilot and his flock of 18 MLAs.
Following this, a resolution by MLAs called for “strict disciplinary action” against anyone who did anything to weaken the government or the party.
On Sunday, the sulking leader had declared open rebellion against his party by claiming that he has the support of 30 MLAs.
The Congress in Rajasthan is witnessing a power tussle between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, who is upset since he was denied the Chief Minister’s post after the December 2018 assembly elections.
The current crisis began Friday night when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government.
The Congress has 100 MLAs, the half-way mark in the 200-member assembly. Sachin Pilot has at least 20 MLAs on his side – 17 Congress and three independent legislators.
Before Sachin Pilot’s rebellion, the Congress had 107 MLAs besides the support of 13 independents and five members from smaller parties. That number has now come down to 90 Congress MLAs, seven independent members and three from smaller parties.
However, amid the raging political crisis in Rajasthan and a catalogue of speculation, Sachin Pilot had earlier itself made it clear that he will not join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Pilot is reportedly furious that he and his supporters have been humiliated time and again by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, moreover many of his supporting MLAs have been followed by CID and daily reports are filed by them with the CM’s office on who they have met and spoken with. The Special Operation Group summons for questioning over allegations of destabilising the government has got Pilot upset.
The notice which has Pilot was sent at the behest of the Chief Minister who heads the home department in the state. Pilot felt humiliated and left for Delhi along with his loyal MLAs including three independents – Om Prakash Hudla, Suresh Tank and Khushveer Singh.
The notice by SOG had come as the last nail in the coffin of the relationship between the top leaders which was already was on the brink of collapse since Sachin Pilot was denied the Chief Minister’s post after the December 2018 assembly elections.