Congress' Split Approach to Rajasthan Crisis: High Command Placates Sachin Pilot as Gehlot Hardens Stand

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with his deputy Sachin Pilot. (PTI File)

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with his deputy Sachin Pilot. (PTI File)

A resolution adopted at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting earlier in the day expressed confidence in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and unanimously supported the Ashok Gehlot government in the state.

  • News18.com New Delhi
  • Last Updated: July 14, 2020, 7:28 AM IST
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The Rajasthan Congress Legislature Party will once again meet on Tuesday, said party spokesperson Randeep Surejewala, urging Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot to come and discuss issues with “an open mind”.

The meeting will be held at a hotel on the Delhi highway near Jaipur where the party MLAs are currently lodged.

“The CLP meeting will be held on Tuesday. We request Sachin Pilot and all other MLAs to come. We will also give them in writing to come and discuss the issues,” said Surjewala on Monday night.

“They are requested to come and discuss how we can strengthen Rajasthan together and serve its eight crore people,” he said, adding that if there are any issues, these should be discussed “with an open mind” and that Sonia Gandhi (national party president) and Rahul Gandhi are ready to listen to everyone and find a solution.

“Doors are open for Sachin Pilot and other MLAs. They will be heard and solutions found. This is the discipline of the party,” he said.

However, sources close to Pilot told CNN-News18 that he and his supporters are unlikely to attend the meeting. The deputy CM and some of his loyalists did not attend the CLP held on Monday as well.

Pilot's office on Monday night released a video showing his loyalists sequestered at a hotel in Manesar.

As the Congress grappled with the crisis in Rajasthan, its top party leadership appeared to go all out to pacify Pilot who has raised a banner of revolt against Gehlot, with senior party leaders saying that both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have spoken to the rebel leader.

Party sources said that the Congress leadership has assured Pilot of quick redressal of his concerns.

These overtures from the Congress top brass came a day after some senior party leaders expressed concern over the crisis in Rajasthan, and sought immediate action from the party leadership to resolve it.

Pilot has been upset since he was denied the Rajasthan chief minister's post after the December 2018 assembly elections. On Sunday, he claimed to have the backing of 30 Congress MLAs and “some independents”.

Those close to him disputed Gehlot's claim that his government had a majority, and said this is proven in the assembly and not at the CM's house.

Sources close to him also ruled out the possibility of Pilot joining the BJP.

CLP resolution against ‘anti-party stand’

Meanwhile, the Congress was making all efforts to save its government in Rajasthan and a resolution in support of Gehlot was passed during the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meet on Monday afternoon.

The resolution recommended strong disciplinary action against any Congress MLA and office-bearer who "weakens" the party. According to party sources, 106 MLAs, both from the Congress and those supporting it, were present in the meeting.

The resolution expressed confidence in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and unanimously supported the Gehlot government.

“If any of the Congress office-bearers or member of the CLP directly or indirectly performs acts against the government and party or is involved in such a conspiracy, then strong disciplinary action be taken against him,” it said.

The resolution also blamed the BJP for conspiring to destablise the Congress government and “murdering democracy” with the misuse of power and money to lure MLAs.

Congress extends olive brach

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Sources said Gehlot seemed confident after the CLP meeting as he felt he is "comfortable" with the numbers stacked in his favour. Though the party has adopted a conciliatory approach towards Pilot so far, a senior leader said the ball is now in Pilot's court on the next step he takes. He said Pilot does not seem to have the numbers and he has apparently "gone a bit too far" with his public stance against Gehlot.

Surjewala expressed hope that Gehlot, Pilot and the MLAs will take part in the meeting on Tuesday to discuss the problems. “I am hopeful of finding a solution to the BJP's conspiracy and the attack on the democratic set-up,” he added.

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