In a major turn of events in the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, the Congress has claimed a “breakthrough” in the weeks-long standoff after sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi on Monday evening.
The development comes after Rahul Gandhi met Sachin Pilot on Monday. The duo had a meeting in the presence of Priyanka Gandhi and then both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi drove from Rahul Gandhi’s residence to 10 Janpath, where they discussed the issue with party president Sonia Gandhi.
The Gandhis have reportedly agreed to resolve all the issues that Sachin Pilot had regarding the governance in Rajasthan.
Following the meeting, Sonia Gandhi decided to constitute a three-member committee to look after the grievances of sulking Congress leader Sachin Pilot.
In a statement, party General Secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal said, “Congress President Sonia Gandhi has decided that the AICC will constitute a three-member committee to address the issues raised by Sachin Pilot, the aggrieved MLA, and arrive at an appropriate resolution thereof.”
“Sachin Pilot has met former Congress President Rahul Gandhi and expressed his grievances in detail. They have had a frank, open and conclusive discussion. Sachin Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan,” said the statement.
Rebel leader Sachin Pilot, after daylong deliberations to chart out a path for reconciliation with the party, told reporters on Monday evening that his rebellion was meant to flag “ideological issues”.
“Since past some time some, MLAs were in Delhi. There were some issues which we wanted to highlight. I did that. I had been saying since the beginning that all these things were based on principle. I always thought these things are essential to be raised in party’s interest,” he said.
“Several things were said, I heard a lot of things. I was surprised by a few things that were said. I think we should always maintain restraint and humility,” Pilot said and added that “there is no place for personal malice in politics.”
“We had formed the government in Rajasthan after five years of hard work,” the Congress leader said.
He further said the party gives posts and has the authority to take it back and asserted that he has “no desire” for any post but “wanted self-respect to remain intact.”
“I have contributed to the party for 18-20 years now. We have always attempted to ensure the participation of people who worked hard to form the government,” Sachin Pilot told reporters.
He informed that Sonia Gandhi heard all their concerns and the governance issues that they raised and termed the formation of the three-member committee by the Congress President as a “welcome step.”
He also expressed hope that all the issues will now be resolved.
“I thank Sonia ji, Rahul ji, Priyanka Gandhi ji and Congress leaders for noting and addressing our grievances. I stand firm in my belief and will continue working for a better India, to deliver on promises made to the people of Rajasthan and protect democratic values we cherish,” he said.
I thank Smt Sonia Ji, @RahulGandhi Ji, @priyankagandhi Ji & @INCIndia leaders for noting & addressing our grievances.I stand firm in my belief & will continue working for a better India, to deliver on promises made to the people of Rajasthan & protect democratic values we cherish pic.twitter.com/kzS4Qi1rnm
— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) August 10, 2020
While leaders from the Congress camp claimed that MLAs from the Pilot camp did not want to join the ranks, the negotiations started with the party as Pilot re-approached the senior leadership, including Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, and was taken into confidence for future action. After Rahul Gandhi said yes, the deal was sealed.
The Congress sources say that there were no preconditions from both the sides and they hope for a happy ending to the crisis that has threatened its government in the state.
The Congress sources said that veteran party leader Ahmed Patel had pitched in to resolve the issue that had threatened the survival of the Ashok Gehlot government after the Pilot camp raised the banner of revolt against it.
The Congress had sacked Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and the state party chief. So far, Gehlot has stayed put as Chief Minister amid claims and counter-claims on attempts to poach MLAs.
On Sunday night, a Congress Legislature Party meeting was held in a Jaisalmer hotel, where MLAs from the Gehlot camp are lodged, and there were mixed views on welcoming back the rebels into the party fold.
While a few MLAs suggested that the rebels should be accepted in view of the “wafer-thin margin” of the Gehlot government in the Assembly, others were not in such a forgiving mood.
Meanwhile, the Gehlot camp in Jaisalmer is keeping a wary eye on any development in Delhi vis-a-vis the proposed meeting.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader KC Venugopal on Monday said that Sachin Pilot’s agreement with the Congress to end hostilities after weeks of acrimony with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot that pushed the state government on the verge of collapse, is a “direct slap” on the BJP’s “anti-democratic” face.
The twist in the story comes just days before the Assembly session that is scheduled to be held on August 14.
After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on July 14, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.
Two other ministers, Vishvender Singh and Ramesh Meena, who joined him in his revolt, were also dropped from the Ashok Gehlot cabinet.
On the same evening, 19 dissident Congress leaders including Sachin Pilot were served notices by assembly Speaker CP Joshi for indulging in “anti-party activities”.