As the crisis in Rajasthan Congress deepens with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot attacking his former deputy Sachin Pilot, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Monday called both leaders “assets" to the party and said the power tussle will not affect his Bharat Jodo Yatra which is set to enter the state in the first week of December.
“It will not affect the yatra and both the leaders are assets to the Congress party," said the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad while responding to a query on different statements being given by Gehlot and Pilot.
Asked whether he would like to contest again from Amethi if given an opportunity, Gandhi said, “I don’t want to give any headline to the media as at present my focus is on the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The answer to your question on the issue will come after a year or one-and-a-half years."
The Bharat Jodo Yatra will enter from Jhalawar tentatively on December 3 and will cover parts of Jhalawar, Kota, Bundi, Sawaimadhopur, Dausa, and Alwar in 20 days.
Gehlot Calls Pilot ‘Gaddar’
Gehlot’s scathing remark against Pilot came after a Gurjar leader, Vijay Singh Bainsla, threatened to oppose Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Rajasthan unless Pilot is made the chief minister.
In an interview with NDTV last week, the Rajasthan CM called Pilot a traitor six times and alleged that his 2020 revolt was funded by the BJP. “A gaddar (traitor) cannot be Chief Minister," Gehlot said on Thursday. He reiterated his stand on the matter and said the Congress High Command cannot make Sachin Pilot the Chief Minister, “a man who doesn’t have 10 MLAs, who revolted against his own party".
Pilot’s 2020 Revolt
Gehlot has said that Sachin Pilot’s 2020 revolt was “funded by the BJP". “In a first for India, a party’s own president tried to bring it down." he said, adding it was enabled by senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah.
In 2020, Pilot along with a group of 18 Congress MLAs camped in Haryana for several weeks who backed him to take over as chief minister. The Tonk MLA was later persuaded by Congress high leadership to drop his rebellion. However, he was stripped of posts of Deputy CM and Rajasthan Congress chief.
Gehlot’s September Rebellion
In September, around 92 legislators from the Gehlot camp attended a parallel meeting hosted by Shanti Dhariwal at his residence in Jaipur and skipped the legislature party meeting convened for passing a resolution authorising the Congress chief to appoint a successor to Gehlot, who had then announced to contest for the Congress presidential election.
The MLAs had opposed Gehlot’s arch-rival Sachin Pilot’s possible elevation to the CM post and demanded that Gehlot’s successor should be chosen from his camp. They also mentioned Pilot’s 2020 rebellion, saying the party must reward those who stood by it during that crisis.
Later, Congress served show-cause notice to three Rajasthan ministers – Shanti Dhariwal and Mahesh Joshi, and Dharmendra Rathore — for “grave indiscipline”.
Gehlot had also apologised to then party interim chief Sonia Gandhi over the rebellion by MLAs from his camp and pulled himself out of the Congress presidential race.
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