In his most bitter attack on party rival and former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Monday said he knew Pilot was a “nikamma” and a “nakara” (useless and worthless) who had been “conspiring” to “stab the party in the back” but “no one believed that someone with an innocent face could do such a thing”. Follow Rajasthan Government Crisis LIVE updates
Gehlot’s remarks against his former colleague came on the day a division bench of the Rajasthan High Court heard a petition by rebel MLAs. Earlier, the High Court had extended until Tuesday evening the deadline set by Assembly Speaker CP Joshi, seeking response from rebel MLAs on the show cause notices served to them.
Speaking to media persons, Gehlot said, “Why did it come to this? That our state Congress president, who was (president) for seven years… It is a big thing to be a 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.
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“Hum jaante they 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 hun, mein yahan koi sabzi bechne nahi aaya hun. Mein mukhya mantri banne aaya hun. (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. I have never heard about it till date. His face and character are now clear before the entire nation.”
“That person got ready to stab the Congress in the back… this game which has happened now would have happened on March (June) 10. The Rajya Sabha elections were on (June) 19. At 2 pm on March (June) 10, a car left from here for Manesar. In morning (June 11), it was the death anniversary of Rajesh Pilot and his statue was to be garlanded. And some people were (planning) to head to the airport directly from there. I exposed the conspiracy, I called up everyone and we had to stay in a hotel for ten days,” he said.
“I want to ask: one who aspires to be AICC president, people from Bombay corporate houses sponsor… because you have been a corporate affairs minister,” he said.
Referring to the ongoing court case, Gehlot said, “Now a lawyer is talking from London; who is that lawyer? Harish Salve, from London – whose lawyer is he? Of corporate houses. How much is their fee? Rs 50-40-30 lakh for one appearance. Mukul Rohatgi sahab, (former) Attorney General of India and BJP’s khaas, chahete (favourite) is standing here. His fee is also Rs 40-50 lakh. Where is this money coming from? Is Pilot saheb giving it from his pocket? There are corporate houses which are conspiring… It is a big conspiracy to topple the Congress government. 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. Mobile phones of our people are free. There are no curbs on talking over phone or going anywhere. But they (rebel MLAs) are held hostage. Many of them want to come here. They are coming on telephone and crying. Some say they are using the barber’s phone, or their son’s phone,” he said.
“This game is very unfortunate. We expected that this person will turn out to be an asset for Congress. But there are bouncers there and no one can leave,” he said.
He said that such horse trading was also attempted during the time of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat when he was CM of Rajasthan. “I went to the then PM PV Narsimha Rao — Bhanwarlal had approached me too; I told him I am not involved in such activities and that a CM is unwell and going to America and behind him you are conspiring to change the government,” the CM said. Lal is one of the MLAs with Pilot and faces FIRs by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Special Operations Group.
Meanwhile, CPM MLA Girdharilal Mahiya, who is not part of the group of pro-Gehlot MLAs lodged in a hotel, said, “Whatever the party decides, I will follow that.”
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