‘Misadventure, over-ambition’: Ashok Gehlot blames Sachin Pilot for Rajasthan crisis, but hints at rapprochement

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Updated: Jul 24, 2020 11:06 AM

Ashok Gehlot has been vocal against Sachin Pilot and has alleged that the deputy CM was hatching a conspiracy against his own party government with the support of the BJP.

Sachin Pilot was sacked as the deputy CM and also as the president of the Congress’ Rajasthan unit.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has renewed his attack against his now sacked deputy Sachin Pilot, squarely blaming him for the crisis that has gripped Rajasthan over the past couple of weeks. In an interview with The Indian Express, Gehlot said that the problem that the Rajasthan government currently finds itself in is the result of Sachin Pilot’s “misadventurism”, which has been driven by his “undesirable over-ambition”.

Over the past few days, Gehlot has been unsparing in his remarks against Pilot, even going to the extent of calling him “nikamma” — comments that stood in stark contrast with reports of the top leadership of the Congress making all attempts to bring back Pilot into the party fold. Speaking to The Indian Express, Gehlot did not appear to let his guard down. “As I have already stated, he (Pilot) is engaged in misadventures – a result of his undesirable over-ambition. The party and the government in Rajasthan had given him positions which are much more than what one can validly aspire at this early stage of life as compared to his contribution to the party,” he said.

However, in a possible attempt to strike a balance, given the stand of the central leadership of the party, Gehlot also dropped hints of reconciliation with his junior whose rebellion triggered a flutter in the Congress government. While mainitaining that the problem in the government was created by “over-ambition of Sachin Pilot and a small group of MLAs” whom he accused of playing into the hands of the BJP, Gehlot said that the relationship between the two of them will be based on the future course of action that Pilot and the party high command decide to take.

“I will welcome (him) if he decides to again repose his faith in the Congress,” he said.

Gehlot also claimed that his government has a comfortable majority in the Assembly and exuded confidence that the government will complete its full term. On a question on the possibility of a floor test to prove his claim of majority, the CM said that he was not shying away from anything. “If required, we are ready for a floor test and will win it with a thumping majority,” he said.

The rift between Gehlot and Pilot is not new. The differences were out in open first during the ticket distribution ahead of Assembly elections in 2018. After the party’s win, Gehlot was made the CM of Rajasthan for a third time. However, the Congress leadership’s decision didn’t go down well with Sachin Pilot. Pilot was made the deputy CM and the rift came to fore again at the time of portfolio distribution and later during the general elections.

The crisis worsened last week after the state police’s SOG served a notice to Pilot asking him to record his statement in an alleged bid to topple the Congress government. He was sacked as the deputy CM and Congress’ Rajasthan president later.

Gehlot has been vocal against Pilot since then and has alleged that the deputy CM was hatching a conspiracy against his own party government with the support of the BJP.

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