In his first reactions after the Congress high command brokered a truce between rebel Congress MLAs and the party, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday struck a reconciliatory note and said that it is his responsibility to win back the hearts of the rebel MLAs of the party.
“The people who have come, why did they go, in which situations, what promises were made to them, why are they angry with me, we will try to allay all of this. Much like the party in power at the Assembly whose responsibility is to take the opposition along, in a similar way, today I am the Chief Minister and if MLAs of my party are angry with me, then it is my responsibility how I manage to satisfy them and win back their hearts,” Gehlot told reporters in Jaipur on Tuesday.
Gehlot’s statement came a day after the Congress high command met with former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot and announced that a three-member committee will be constituted to address the grievances of Pilot and his loyalist MLAs, a move that signals a breakthrough in the month-long political crisis in Rajasthan, ever since Pilot took off with 18 of his loyalist legislators.
“Shanti rahegi. Shanti, sadvav, bhaichara, sab rahega (there will be peace. Peace, harmony, brotherhood),” said Gehlot while responding to a question on whether peace will prevail in the party organisation in Rajasthan now after the truce of the rebel MLAs with the Congress high command.
Gehlot said that if the legislators have any grievances, they will intimate the three-member committee about them and further strategy will be made after Monday’s decision by the high command.
The Chief Minister added that not even a single Congress MLA could be convinced to leave the party during this period.
“It has become a history how more than 100 people stayed together for such a long time and not even one person could be broken away. BJP leaders put all their might and conspired to bring down the government at any cost and even in that environment if not even a single MLAs left us, you can imagine what we are feeling in our hearts. I have told them that you have made history and as long as I am alive, I will stay as your guardian,” said Gehlot.
Gehlot also said that the MLAs, who stayed at hotels, had their trust in the high command and himself and that this trust will be sustained at any cost.
Gehlot launched a scathing attack on the BJP, saying that the party’s leaders have lost their face during the episode and all Congress workers throughout the country have been energised. “Right now the issue is about saving democracy,” Gehlot added.
He added that Congress will stay united and will govern Rajasthan for its full term of five years. “The party will stay united, it will govern for the whole five years and we will win the next elections as well. The chance to teach the BJP a lesson for the conspiracy it has hatched will come before the general public during the 2023 elections. The government was earlier too in majority. It is in majority today and will be in the future too. The (BJP) has not succeeded,” said Gehlot.
On Tuesday, Gehlot avoided responding to questions of the media about his earlier comments terming Pilot as ‘nikamma’ (incompetent). Last month, Gehlot had launched a blistering attack against Pilot and had called him “nikamma” and “nakara” (worthless and incompetent).