Days after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot called former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot a “traitor” (gaddar) who colluded with the BJP, the two Congress leaders appeared together in a show of unity on Tuesday.
In Jaipur, Gehlot told reporters: “Rahul Gandhi has said that Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are assets to the party.” Pilot, on the other hand, stated that Bharat Jodo Yatra will be welcomed with maximum enthusiasm and energy in Rajasthan.
The leaders were addressing a press conference after participating in a meeting on preparations for the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, scheduled to enter Rajasthan on December 4.
— ANI (@ANI) November 29, 2022
AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, who accompanied Gehlot and Pilot during the press conference, said: “We are united. Here Ashok Ji and Sachin Pilot Ji have said that the Congress party in Rajasthan is united. Rahul Gandhi has clearly stated that both Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are assets to the party,” news agency ANI reported.
“This is the Rajasthan Congress,” Venugopal said, as he held the hands of both leaders locked in a tussle of power in the party’s state unit.
Venugopal reached Jaipur on Saturday to review the preparations and ensure that the warring leaders remain on the same page so that their tussle does not overshadow or derail the yatra.
Amid the political turmoil in Rajasthan, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had recently said that both Gehlot and Pilot were “assets” to the party. Gehlot said on Tuesday that if Rahul Gandhi has said so, both leaders must indeed be assets.
“I don’t want to get into who said what. Both these leaders are assets to the Congress. But I can say one thing with guarantee that this (feud) will have no impact on the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Rahul said at a press conference in Indore.
Responding to this, Gehlot Tuesday said: “When Rahul Gandhi ji has said – he is the leader of all of us – when Rahul Gandhi ji has said asset hain, toh phir asset hain (that we are assets, then we are assets indeed). So why is there a need for discussion? Our party’s biggest virtue, before independence and post-independence, has been that the party functions under the number one leader’s discipline. The party functions under the discipline of the Congress president. So there is nothing left to say after he has spoken.”
The CM told reporters that the main issue before the party is the 2023 assembly election, and claimed that the mood is in the favour of the Congress. “We will win the assembly elections. We have introduced several unique schemes and programmes which are benefitting people across the state. I get an overwhelming response from people when I go on visits. It means that the government is going to be repeated,” he said.
Targeting the BJP, Gehlot said that the party should bother about itself instead of commenting on the Congress.
On November 24, Gehlot launched a sharp offensive, calling Sachin Pilot a “traitor (gaddar)” who colluded with the BJP. He also said that Pilot doesn’t have the support of even 10 MLAs and could not be made CM.
Responding to this, Pilot said “name-calling” and “mud-slinging” serves no purpose. “Unbecoming of someone with such experience to use such language, I’ve always refused to do so,” Pilot said as quoted by the news agency PTI.
(With inputs from agencies)