Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, believed to be upset over his adversary Sachin Pilot reconciling with the Congress and making a comeback after a meeting with Rahul Gandhi, evades when asked how he would go back to working with someone he had called “nikamma” (useless). He claims it is his responsibility now to address grievances of MLAs who are annoyed with him. Asked about the truce with the rebels, the Chief Minister said he will give them a warm hug if party leadership decides to forgive the rebel MLAs.
After the resolution of the crisis arising out of the rebellion by Congress MLAs owing allegiance to Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday said that he would try to know their grievances and then try to win them over.
Gehlot was speaking to the media before leaving for Jaisalmer, where MLAs from his camp are staying, to chair a Congress Legislature Party meeting.
“As the Chief Minister, it is my responsibility to win the hearts of my MLAs if they have any cause to be annoyed with me. We will try to figure out what all promises were made to them and why they have grudges,” he said.
Gehlot pointed out that a 3-member committee has been formed by the Congress high command to look into the grievances of MLAs.
However, Gehlot parried the question about his opinion on Pilot’s return to the Congress fold as the Chief Minister had earlier dubbed his once-deputy ‘nikamma’ and ‘nakara’ (incompetent, worthless).
Pilot, who was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and PCC chief in July, is returning to state capital Jaipur from Delhi via road after meeting the party leadership and will be welcomed at different places en route by his supporters.
The Chief Minister also attacked the BJP, saying that all their plans and projections have failed badly.
“Imagine their situation — they hired 3 planes which remained grounded as the MLAs refused to fly to a new place. They also wanted to take their MLAs for camping; that also could not be done. A meeting of MLAs scheduled to be held at a hotel on Tuesday has also been cancelled. Look, how they have fallen flat,” he remarked.
Gehlot said that he owes a lot to the Congress MLAs who stayed for a month in hotels and not even one of them joined the rival camp. “I have told them that I will be obliged to them for life,” he added.
He asserted that the Congress government in Rajasthan will complete its 5-year term and return to power again in the next Assembly elections.
Indicating an end to the rebellion in the Congress’ Rajasthan unit, a meeting took place between Sachin Pilot and his loyalists and the three-member panel formed by interim party chief Sonia Gandhi to look into their grievances, at the war room in the Congress headquarters here on Monday evening.
Pictures of the meeting show the MLAs sitting with Pilot and the committee members — Ahmed Patel, Priyanka Gandhi and K.C. Venugopal — standing in the background, with the optics suggesting a happy ending for the party.
Speaking to the media afterwards, Pilot said: “I wanted our self-respect to remain intact. I have given 20 years to the party now. We have always attempted to ensure the participation of people who worked hard to form the government.”
He said that he was not hankering for any post as the party has the sole right to give and take away a post.
Pilot also stressed that his fight was ideological and not personal.
“Since the past few days, some MLAs were in Delhi… There were some issues of the state which we wanted to highlight and I have done that by raising the issues clearly. I have been saying since the beginning that all these things were based on principles. I always thought these things are essential to be raised in the party’s interest,” he told mediapersons.
Pilot also said that he believed that all these issues will be resolved after Sonia Gandhi heard all their concerns and the governance issues that they had raised. He also welcomed the formation of the three-member committee.
“I heard a lot of things. I was surprised by a few things that were said. I think we should always maintain restraint and humility. We had formed a government in Rajasthan after five years of hard work,” he said.
Pilot also said that he didn’t want to raise the issues discussed in front of the media. (IANS)