After Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said he will embrace rebel Congressmen if they apologise to the "high command", the Congress on Sunday made it clear that Sachin Pilot must first spell out his position unequivocally and hold a conversation.
The Congress also claimed that its government in Rajasthan was safe and would prove its majority on the floor of the house when the assembly meets on August 14.
"Sachin Pilot must come and hold a conversation first. Pilot must come out and state his position clearly and unequivocally first and only then can any talk of his return happen," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference.
Asked about Gehlot's comments that he will embrace the rebels and accept them, after having used some harsh words against Pilot a few days ago, Surjewala said the same were stated out of "hurt feelings and sentiments" due to the conspiracy to topple his government.
"Ashok Gehlot ji has acted responsibly and in a mature fashion in what he has stated," he said.
"It should also set to rest all criticism of some remarks in a way out of his hurt feelings and sentiments, on account of a clear conspiracy in collusion with the BJP to topple his government in the state," the Congress leader said.
Asked how many MLAs supported the Congress in Rajasthan, Surjewala said, "We have over 102 MLAs". He has earlier claimed the support of 109 MLAs in the state, which has a total of 200 MLAs.
Gehlot had said on Saturday in Jaisalmer, where the party MLAs have been shifted from Jaipur, ahead of the assembly session, that he has no issues with any of the rebels if they apologised to the party high command and would abide by whatever the leadership decided about them.
Nineteen Congress rebels, including former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, revolted against Gehlot, posing a threat to the Congress government in Rajasthan.
Congress has sent many feelers to Pilot, but the rebel leader has not opened his cards yet even though he has said he would not join the BJP.
Gehlot has convened a session of the state assembly where he will prove his majority.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)