Jaipur: The Congress Tuesday virtually closed the gate for rebel party leader Sachin
Pilot, removing him as Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and state party chief, two days after he mounted a rebellion against the Congress.
The Congress has appointed Govind Singh Dotsara, an OBC leader and state education minister, as the new president of the Rajasthan Congress.
Others in the Pilot camp have been dethroned too, including state ministers Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena. Rajasthan Youth Congress president Mukesh Bhakar, who had tweeted Monday that loyalty in the Congress meant being a slave to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has been removed too.
“You all have been watching the political situation that unfolded in the last 72 hours. BJP through a conspiracy has tried to dethrone a democratically elected party. It is unfortunate that Sachin Pilot and other MLAs supporting him have been mislead by the BJP and became part of toppling the state (Ashok Gehlot-led) government, which is unacceptable,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Soon after the decision was announced, Pilot said on Twitter that truth can be “harassed but not defeated”.
सत्य को परेशान किया जा सकता है पराजित नहीं।
— Sachin Pilot (@SachinPilot) July 14, 2020
He also updated his Twitter bio. Where it identified him as “deputy chief minister of Rajasthan” and “president, Rajasthan Congress” until Tuesday afternoon, it currently reads “Tonk MLA”. The subsequent section, identifying him as a commissioned officer of the Territorial Army and listing his stint as Union minister in the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, stays as is.
‘Pilot given ample responsibilities’
Speaking to reporters in Jaipur, Surjewala dismissed allegations that Pilot had been shortchanged by the Congress.
“Pilot was given ample responsibilities at a very young age. For instance, he became an MP at 26, Union minister at 32, PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) chief at 34, and deputy CM at 40,” he said. “No one would have got so many promotions in such a short span of time. In the past 72 hours, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other central leaders have tried to communicate with Pilot and other cabinet ministers but in vain,” Surjewala added.
The Congress Legislative Party held a meeting Tuesday afternoon, where MLAs are believed to have sought action against Pilot and the other rebel legislators. Earlier, a closed-door meeting took place between CM Ashok Gehlot, and senior party leaders K.C. Venugopal, Ajay Maken, Avinash Pande and Randeep Singh Surjewala to discuss the possibilities in case the rebel MLAs refuse to turn up.
Sources in the Rajasthan government told ThePrint that a cabinet reshuffle will be held latest by Thursday. The oath-taking ceremony of the new inductees will be held at Raj Bhavan in Jaipur, they added.
The Congress has already replaced Pilot loyalists in party positions. Tribal leader and MLA Ganesh Ghogra, Surjewala said, will be the new president of the state Youth Congress, succeeding Bhakar. Hem Singh Shekhawat will serve as the new state president of the Congress Seva Dal, replacing Pilot-camp MLA Rakesh Pareek.
With PTI inputs
This is a breaking story. It will be updated as fresh inputs come in.