Sachin Pilot will leave the Congress and is the first party president of a state who tried to topple his own government — this is what Ashok Gehlot had scribbled on a handwritten note he carried to Sonia Gandhi on Thursday. He also wrote in it that Pilot had only 18 MLAs by his side.
The note was captured by a photographer of Malayala Manorama as Gehlot was entering 10 Janpath, in which he addressed Sachin Pilot as “SP”. It also had a reference to “Manesar”, where 18 MLAs of the Pilot camp had moved in 2020 after rebelling, posing a threat to the Gehlot government. The note used terms like “gunda-gardi, vindictive and arrogant" for the young leader’s supporters.
The note said it would have been good for the party if the observers sent to Rajasthan had mentioned this in their report.
This strong attack by Gehlot on Pilot came as the Congress said it would make a decision on the Rajasthan CM issue in a couple of days. Gehlot later said he had apologised to Sonia Gandhi for the events a week ago in Jaipur when over 80 MLAs of the Congress had rebelled against any decision to anoint Sachin Pilot as the next chief minister.
“Whatever happened was very sad and I am pained by it,” said the first line of Gehlot’s note. He further wrote that in politics, people change sides if the wind changes, but the same had not happened in Rajasthan.
Gehlot had scribbled “102 MLAs” to cite the strong support in his favour and also mentioned “RG 1 hour”, indicative of a long meeting he had with Rahul Gandhi recently. He also alluded to the figure of Rs 10 crore and “BJP office”, as per his earlier allegation that it was the amount the saffron party had offered to each Congress MLA to jump ship. He further mentioned “Pushkar", in reference to a recent incident where Pilot supporters threw footwear and hooted at state ministers Ashok Chandna and Shakuntala Rawat, considered close to the CM.
It is not clear if Sonia Gandhi listened to Gehlot’s list of complaints but ministers close to him said no decision of replacing him with Pilot is on the cards. Any such move is also expected to destabilise the Congress government in Rajasthan as Gehlot does enjoy the support of a large majority of MLAs. He has dropped out of the Congress president’s race after meeting Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.