Effectively slamming the door on former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and ruling out any possibility of rapprochement, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot ratcheted up the rhetoric Monday, calling Pilot a “nikamma” and a “nakara” (useless and worthless).
He said Pilot had been “conspiring” to “stab the party in the back” but “no one believed that Gehlot’s attack, the sharpest till date, left the Congress leadership in New Delhi squirming. A party leader told The Indian Express: “The Congress leadership disapproves such personal remarks. He has been told about it. He is a seasoned leader and he needs to be careful.” The leadership, the party leader said, was still hopeful of a reconciliation.
Another meeting of the state Congress Legislature Party has been called at 11 am Tuesday.
The CM’s remarks came on the day a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court, hearing a petition by rebel MLAs, questioned the show-cause notices served on them by Speaker CP Joshi for skipping a party meeting. It said a whip can only be issued for an Assembly session, not a party meeting. The matter will be heard Tuesday.
Also Monday, the Governor’s office revoked the general consent clause under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which is required for a CBI investigation.
Speaking to media persons, Gehlot said of Pilot: “Our state Congress president, who was (president) for seven years… It is a big thing to be president for seven years… he had the trust of Rahulji and Sonia Gandhiji. But the manner in which he weaved a conspiracy in the last six months, to separate from the party with the help of the BJP, join the BJP or topple the government… When our (rebel) MLAs said they won’t go to BJP, then it was said that we will form a third front. If you resign, no BJP candidate will contest against you, this promise was taken, and that an alliance government will be formed, like Bihar.”
“No one used to believe me when I used to say that a conspiracy is being hatched in Rajasthan to topple the government. No one used to believe that this person can do such a thing. Innocent face, good command over spoken Hindi and English – and he impressed the media in the entire country,” he said.
“We knew what was happening here. Nothing was happening. In seven years, Rajasthan must have been the only state in India where no demand was made to change the Congress state president, not by any senior or any junior. No one would have read a small news item that Pilot sahab should be removed as state Congress committee president,” he said.
“Hum jaante thhey ye nikamma hai, nakara hai, kuch kaam nahi kar raha hai, khali logon ko ladwa raha hai. (Pilot used to say) mere saath ho ki nahi ho? Mein yahan baingan bechne nahi aaya hoon, mein yahan koi sabzi bechne nahi aaya hoon. Mein mukhya mantri banne aaya hoon. (We knew he was useless and worthless, and was merely trying to make people fight. Pilot used to say are you with me or not. I am not here to sell brinjals or vegetables, I have come here to be the CM). Seven years were spent (by Pilot) in this language,” he said.
Gehlot said “you will never find in history that a PCC president and the head of the party is conspiring to drown his party and topple his government… That person got ready to stab the Congress in the back… aspires to be AICC president, so people from Bombay corporate houses sponsor… because you have been a corporate affairs minister”.
Referring to the ongoing court case, Gehlot mocked and questioned Pilot for hiring lawyers Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi, saying they command a tall fee. “Where is this money coming from? Is Pilot sahab giving it from his pocket?” he said.
Claiming there was “a big conspiracy” to topple his government, he said: “There are several powers involved in this. There were I-T raids. I got to know two days ago that raids will be carried out on CM’s chahete and milne waley log (favourites). And then raids were indeed carried out on them.”
He also claimed that rebel MLAs were being hostage. “Everyone knows how they are being kept; their mobiles have been taken away… Many of them want to come here. They are crying over the phone. Some say they are using the barber’s phone, others their son’s phone,” he said.
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