New Delhi: The Congress’ political crisis in Rajasthan is over, after rebel leader Sachin Pilot, along with the MLAs who have been supporting him, held a meeting with the party’s central leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel and K.C. Venugopal.
Pilot thanked the Congress leadership for assuring him that it will look into the issues he has raised, and insisted that his dissent against the party was “never about a post but self-respect”.
Sources said it was discussed at the meeting that all rebel MLAs will give a written apology to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi for their actions, which is also important for the withdrawal of the disqualification process that was initiated by Rajasthan Speaker C.P. Joshi, who had issued them a show cause notice.
Pilot, the former deputy CM, didn’t speak much at the meeting, but the MLAs supporting him did, saying both the Pilot camp ministers who were stripped of their positions should be reinstated, and that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot should not use foul language for “our leader”, according to a source.
Another source said Priyanka Gandhi and other leaders objected to this phrasing and said there should no distinction such as “my leader” or “your leader”.
“The MLAs want that Gehlot should also respect them and work should carry on smoothly in their constituencies. All the MLAs have been asked to vacate their resorts and head to Jaipur,” said another party leader.
Satisfied with panel
Addressing the media outside the meeting venue, the Congress’ Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Road office, Pilot said: “The party reserves the right to give or take away a post. We have always tried that those workers who have contributed to the party’s success they should play a pivotal role. I want to thank Priyanka Gandhi, who took out time and listened to us.”
He also said he is “satisfied with the panel” formed by Sonia Gandhi, and added that it has been more than one and a half years since the Congress government came to power, and he wanted to meet and apprise the party of the work done.
“I am happy that Congress president and former president Rahul Gandhi discussed the issue in detail. We put forward the views of our fellow MLAs. For the past some time, some MLAs were in Delhi and there were a few issues related to the government and the party that we wanted to highlight and I have done that,” Pilot said.
“Since the beginning, I have maintained that all these issues were based on principle. I always believed that these issues are essential to be raised in the interest of the party. I have been assured that a three-member committee will resolve all these issues soon. These were issues of principle,” he said.
“All the issues that I had raised, whether it was the sedition charges (by the Special Operations Group of the Rajasthan Police), or the fact that we had some issues with the functioning of the government… I felt that these were issues that were important to be raised,” Pilot continued.
“A lot of things were said; I also heard a lot of things. There were some personal comments that were made and I was surprised by a few things that were said. I think we should always maintain restraint and humility. There is no place for personal malice in politics. We had formed the government in Rajasthan after five years of hard work, and we are partners,” he added.
Asked if he was looking to join the BJP, Pilot said: “I want to make one thing clear that I have always maintained decorum and never said anything which is not civil. We won the elections on the Congress ticket. So it is our duty that we respect that and work for the people of Rajasthan. I have been assured that the problem will be resolved by the party.