Sachin Pilot’s agreement with the Congress to end hostilities after weeks of acrimony with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot that pushed the state government on the verge of collapse, is a “direct slap” on the BJP’s “anti-democratic” face, senior Congress leader KC Venugopal said on Monday. He said the belligerent rivals were happy with the arrangement, which entails formation of a three-member committee to look into the demands of the rebel MLAs.
“Mr Pilot is also happy and our Chief Minister is also happy. This is a direct slap on the BJP’s anti-democratic face. They are the people doing such horse-trading and sabotaging democratically elected government. This is actually a message to BJP’s wrong-doings,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Mr Pilot, who had been camping in BJP-ruled Haryana with 18 other MLAs in an open revolt, putting in grave peril Mr Gehlot’s government, met Congress seniors Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on Monday to work out his homecoming deal.
With his prime demand- removal of Mr Gehlot as the Chief Minister- off the table, Mr Pilot settled for a three-member Congress panel to look into his other demands. Source say Mr Pilot may not get back his Rajasthan Congress chief post but could be accommodated elsewhere.
“Sachin Pilot has met with former Congress President Shri. Rahul Gandhi and expressed his grievances in detail. They have had a frank, open and conclusive discussion. Sachin Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan,” Mr Venugopal said in a statement on Monday evening.
“Following this meeting, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has decided that the AICC will constitute a three-member committee to address the issues raised by Shri Sachin Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs and arrive at an appropriate resolution thereof,” he added.
Later, the party announced Priyanka Gandhi, Mr Venugopal and Ahmed Patel will comprise the panel.
The Congress had alleged that Mr Pilot was enjoying the BJP’s hospitality in Haryana and was inclined to join the party. It also claimed the JP Nadda-led political outfit had been conspiring to topple the Gehlot government.
Mr Pilot, however, had maintained that he wasn’t interested in joining the party against whom the Congress contested and won the 2018 Rajasthan assembly polls.
In his first reaction after the truce, Mr Pilot said: “I had been saying since beginning that all these things were based on principle. I always thought it was essential to raise these things in the party’s interest”.
Mr Gehlot, who had launched personal attacks on Mr Pilot during the crisis, has been preparing for a floor test with his around 102 loyal MLAs to consolidate his power in the state. He had said he would accept the rebels if they apologised to the party high command. He, however, hasn’t reacted on the development so far.