Reacting sharply to comments made by some BJP MLAs on his seat in the assembly being shifted to the back, former deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Friday said his party had sent him closer to the opposition benches as it wanted a strong warrior to guard its borders.
Speaking during the debate ahead of the trust vote called by CM Ashok Gehlot, Pilot said that he and his colleagues will defend their party against all attacks made by the BJP. He was assigned seat number 127, next to independent MLA Sanyam Lodha, for the special session of the assembly as Cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal took his earlier place next to Gehlot in the front row.
"When I came to the assembly at 10:45 in the morning I saw that my seat had been changed...Then I wondered for two minutes why my seat was changed...It occurred to me that when I sat over there [in the front row] I was safe. I was part of the government. But over here, this is the border, where the most powerful warrior is sent," Pilot said.
His seat had been changed because after being sacked from the Cabinet, he could no longer sit in the treasury benches, and as an MLA, had to be seated in the rows at the back. Many BJP MLAs made comments about this new seat arrangement, taunting Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Pilot on their internal differences.
Pilot went on to say that a lot will be discussed at the floor of the assembly during the debate after the trust motion was moved by state cabinet minister Shanti Dhariwal.
"In time everything will be revealed. But I want to say that whatever had to be said or heard [within our party], whether it was about me or my colleagues, we have had that discussion. Whichever doctor we had to go to, we did. But now that all that is behind us and we are all here in the assembly we should talk about the present situation."
He added that when Congress MLAs entered the assembly on Friday, "We are all together. Whatever artillery is fired at the border, all of us, including I, will stand guard and protect the interests of our party."
Many BJP leaders, including BJP's Rajasthan unit chief, Satish Poonia, were among those who criticised Congress for their internal strife, which BJP leaders said, had had a harmful effect on the administration of Rajasthan, which is grappling with novel Coronavirus, floods and locust attacks.
BJP's deputy chief in the house, Rajendra Rathore, said, "Public has been seeing the drama unfold in Rajasthan over the past one month. The actors, heroes, villains are all from one party...Rajasthan bore the brunt of factionalism within the party. Gehlot himself said for 1.5 years he did not talk to his deputy Chief Minister. How can the government function smoothly like this? How can a party that has indulged in 'Elephant trading' level allegations of horse trading at us? Did you not surreptitiously affect the merger of all BSP MLA?"
BJP's chief in the house, Gulab Chand Kataria, also highlighted the differences between Pilot and Gehlot over the past one month. Talking about Pilot, he asked, "The person who got your party back on its feet for 6 years was very good, why he suddenly became bad?"
Addressing Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot he said, "If you say that for 18 months i never talked to the deputy Chief Minister, call him names. Is it our fault? If your leader [Pilot] says that he is not able to do the work he wants to do, is it our fault?"