Sachin Pilot says ‘saddened, surprised and hurt’ by Ashok Gehlot’s comments, kept quiet to set an example

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Updated: Aug 12, 2020 11:57 AM

Sachin Pilot had revolted against Ashok Gehlot in July and later he was sacked as the deputy CM and also from the RPCC president post. As many as 18 Congress MLAs had sided with Pilot.

Rajasthan: Sachin Pilot returns to Congress month after revolt against CM Ashok Gehlot.

Sacked Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot has said that he didn’t ask for any position in the party as a condition for his return. In an interview with The Indian Express, Pilot said he always wanted Congress workers, MLAs and leaders to be treated equally and blamed the coercive actions by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot against him and his loyalists for not creating a conducive environment for conversation.

Pilot had revolted against Gehlot in July and later sacked as the deputy CM and the post of RPCC president. As many as 18 Congress MLAs had sided with Pilot and were camping at a resort in Gurugram. The Pilot camp MLAs returned to the party fold on Monday after a meeting between Sachin Pilot and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra.

Pilot, who reached Jaipur on Tuesday after spending a month in Gurugram, said that he was ‘saddened, surprised, and hurt’ by statements made against him by Ashok Gehlot. “But kept quiet to set an example,” he said.

Speaking about the issues, Pilot said that the grievances are not personal, adding that they are governance issues, collective leadership issues, delivery issues, and there are issues relating to functioning and performance of the government and the party.

“I think they are suggestions for improvement on how we can better deliver on promises we made 18 months ago. The rest of the committee will sit down and we will talk about what needs to be said and done further,” he said.

Pilot returned to the Congress fold on Monday, ending his month-long revolt against Ashok Gehlot. The Congress party has set up a three-member panel comprising Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, KC Venugopal and Ahmed Patel that will look into the issues flagged by the Pilot camp. Pilot said that he has already listed out the issues and grievances during the meeting with the Congress leadership and expects the panel members to work without prejudice.

Pilot said that from day one, he wanted to talk about the issues, but “a lot of action happened in Jaipur: expulsions, suspensions, cases, SOG, ACB, FIRs, coercive action, police action”.

“All of that made things much more untenable than we desired for,” the Congress leader said, adding that actions did not create a conducive environment for any conversation to happen. He said that the party then took a stand in the larger interest; “we have to discuss how to resolve this issue; and that’s when Rahul Gandhi-ji and Priyanka Gandhi-ji came in”.

The 42-year-old politician also rubbished talks that he returned because he didn’t have the numbers and no option was left before him.

“If we are afraid of coercive action from Rajasthan police, (then) whether you live in Noida, Faridabad, Delhi, Haryana or Gurgaon (the police can come). They were scared for their life – most of the MLAs. We felt that by going to Jaipur some of them would have been harassed, or some action would be taken. (Otherwise) who wants to be away from home, your (own) area?” he asked.

On Gehlot’s remark that he was not on talking terms with Pilot ever since the government was formed, he said, “I know – I also heard that. It kind of gives you an idea of how things would have been. From my side…I have never actually done anything to stop that communication.”

Pilot underlined that he has always given nothing but respect and honour for a person who is “much older than I am, much more experienced than I am”.

Pilot’s revolt against Gehlot had left the Congress government on the verge of collapse in Rajasthan. The crisis was put to rest on Monday after Pilot met Rahul and Priyanka for two hours. The leaders assured him to look into the issues raised by him.

A report in The Indian Express on Tuesday claimed that Pilot was given an assurance from the leadership that he could be considered for the chief minister’s job closer to the Assembly elections due in December 2023.

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