Hailing the setting up of a coordination panel by the Congress in Rajasthan as a “good move”, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Sunday said people who struggled for ensuring victory in polls must be made to feel a valuable part of the ruling dispensation as sometimes one tends to take the party organisation for granted after governments are formed.
Pilot also asserted that the seven crore people of Rajasthan had reposed their faith in and voted for the Congress party, and it was only after that the party decided who will be chief minister, deputy CM and ministers.
His remarks come following criticism of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s handling of the Kota infant deaths issue and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi forming coordination and manifesto implementation committees in Rajasthan and other Congress-ruled states to ensure smooth working of the party and government in tandem.
In an interview to PTI, Pilot, who last week completed six years as president of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee and is the longest serving chief of the state unit, said that as part of the government and the RPCC head, it is his responsibility to ensure that the hard labour of party workers is recognised and they are rewarded for their efforts in bringing the party back to power.
“My years of struggle in opposition as party president helped form a special bond with people across the state — it’s my life’s biggest asset,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister, who has consistently emphasised that the government must reach out to people, also asserted that accountability needs to be fixed and corrective measures taken in the cases such as the one in which more than 100 infants died in a government hospital at Kota, so that such tragic incidents are not repeated.
“We should not politicise these issues. Good governance comes from ensuring responsibility and fixing accountability, doing that will at least ensure that there is no repetition of such tragedies and corrective measures are taken immediately,” Pilot said.
Such issues must be dealt with a lot of compassion and empathy and people must feel confident that there are measures in place that such tragedies don’t happen again, he said.
Pilot had earlier said the government could have shown more compassion in the matter and he also met parents of some of the deceased children in Kota.
Asked about the setting up of the coordination and manifesto implementation committees, Pilot said, “I think it is a good move. The Congress workers, the party cadre, the people who have really struggled and won the elections, their stakeholdership, their contribution (must be acknowledged), and they must feel that they are a valuable part of the government.”
The move will certainly give a lot of confidence to grassroots workers, the 42-year-old leader said.
On whether it will enhance the voice of the organisation in the government, he said, “When you are in opposition, the party is of paramount importance. When you are part of the government, sometimes we tend to take the party for granted which shouldn’t be the case.”
All those who worked to put the party in power need appreciation and respect, said Pilot, who is widely credited for the turnaround of the party and its return to power after having been reduced to just 21 seats in the previous assembly following five years of the previous Gehlot government.
“I think the objective (of the committees) is to have a more smoothened process so that people discuss things thoroughly and the government also works in line with what the party wants and what the manifesto states. So there are two committees. I think both will have positive results in delivering governance on the ground,” he said.
Avinash Pandey, party in-charge for Rajasthan Congress, will head the coordination committee which has Chief Minister Gehlot, Pilot, ministers Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, Harish Chaudhary, former speaker Deepender Singh Shekhawat, along with former ministers Hema Ram Chaudhary and Mahendrajit Malviya.
Chhattisgarh minister Tamradhwaj Sahu has been made the chairman of the manifesto implementation panel for Rajasthan.
Asked whether he was ready for another term as the state party chief, Pilot said he is always ready for any responsibility given to him and to discharge it with utmost sincerity and honesty.
On maintaining a balance between his role in the government and as RPCC chief, he said, “Once I set a goal for myself, I go all out to achieve it. I am looking after rural development, panchayati raj and they mostly impact rural population and agrarian communities and so we’ve ensured that budgets are enhanced, schemes reach the remotest parts and strict oversight is maintained.”
He also highlighted that the party recently won three-fourths of the posts in local body polls with people rewarding hard work.
Talking about the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests and the Rajasthan Assembly passing a resolution against the law, Pilot said it is everyone’s right to uphold whatever they feel is wrong.
“Parliament has passed a law because the government of India has a majority in Parliament, but that does not mean that it will necessarily meet legal sanction from the Supreme Court,” Pilot said.
Ultimate decision stands with the Supreme Court on the legality of the Act but every individual has the right to oppose and the government can alter, withdraw or change the law as it deems fit, he said.
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