Terming the political crisis in Rajasthan as a stand to protect their “dignity and self-respect”, close associates of former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Tuesday said in a statement that their leader’s “humiliation” is “totally unacceptable”.
Pilot, removed as deputy CM and state Congress chief, is understood to have the support of at least 18 legislators. And most of them stood by him on the day, criticising his bete noire, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, and asking on social media where and when did they act against the party.
“We have for years worked with dedication, devotion and service towards the party. And we are taking a stand to protect our dignity and self-respect at a time when our leader is threatened with notices from the SOG [state police’s Special Operations Group] under charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy. This is unprecedented in Indian democracy and the Congress,” MLAs and Pilot loyalists Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena and Deependra Singh said in a statement.
Vishvendra and Meena were removed as Cabinet ministers on Tuesday. Deependra is a former Assembly Speaker.
“Public humiliation of our leader is totally unacceptable; those responsible (for) this need to be made accountable,” they stated.
Pilot on Tuesday tweeted, “Satya ko pareshan kiya ja sakta hai, parajit nahi (Truth can be troubled but can’t be defeated).”
In the evening, he posted, “My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today. Ram Ram Sa!”
Removed as state Youth Congress president, MLA Mukesh Bhakar, another Pilot loyalist, tweeted (translated from Hindi): “I became state president of Youth Congress after winning elections. Who is Ashok Gehlot to remove me?”
MLA Ramniwas Gawriya shared a poem on Twitter and wrote (translated), “Under the leadership of Rajasthan’s Pilot, the youth will end the oppression of the magician by taking revenge for the insult and rights of ancestors.”
Gehlot is often called a magician due to his father’s profession, and his own political acumen.
Former minister Meena put out a video on Twitter, speaking of work done by the Food and Civil Supplies Department under him and asked what his mistake was.
Vishvendra Singh also uploaded a video on Twitter and wrote: “…where did we give any statement against the party or against interests of the party? We only wanted to draw attention of the high command to issues in our manifesto — electricity, water, loan waiver — for which the public had elected us. We haven’t been able to deliver on them…”
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