India

Congress Doubts Sachin Pilot’s Intentions, Say Party Sources, Party’s Crisis Deepens


Sachin Pilot has ruled out a resolution that does not involve him being promoted to Chief Minister.

Jaipur:
A day after Sachin Pilot proclaimed that he was not joining the BJP, raising talk of a rapprochement, Congress sources have cast doubts on his intentions based on information from a hotel near Delhi where rebels have been camping. Extra rooms being booked at the hotel in Gurgaon could be to bring in more rebels, Congress sources said today, saying the party was not convinced about his intentions. Mr Pilot has not sought any appointment with Congress president Sonia Gandhi or the other Gandhis, the sources said, suggesting that while talking “peace”, the rebel leader is still trying to gather forces. The rebel MLAs are prepping to take their fight against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to the court.

  1. The rebels are consulting lawyers on petitioning the Rajasthan High Court against notices served to them warning of disqualification for anti-party activities. The court is closed till July 20 over coronavirus.

  2. The Rajasthan Congress served notices to 19 MLAs for defying orders to attend two meetings held since Sachin Pilot launched his revolt against Chief Minister Gehlot. If they did not come up with a satisfactory reply by Friday, they would be disqualified, said the notice.

  3. As the rebels stayed away from Jaipur, the Congress sent notices via SMS, WhatsApp, email and post and even pasted documents in Hindi and English on walls outside the homes of the rebels to make sure they get the message.

  4. Since Sunday, Sachin Pilot has been in Delhi along with some 20 MLAs who are staying at a resort in adjoining Gurgaon. After he reiterated yesterday that he was not joining the BJP, the Congress asked him to “immediately stop accepting hospitality” in BJP-ruled Haryana.

  5. Congress sources say he is yet to respond after the Gandhis reached out to him. Rahul Gandhi, said to be keen on retaining Mr Pilot, spoke to him through emissaries after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had three phone conversations with him over the weekend.

  6. Mr Pilot, say sources, has been cold to any offer that does not involve him being named Chief Minister, a post he was denied after the Congress won the 2018 Rajasthan election.

  7. In a truce formulated by Rahul Gandhi, Mr Pilot, 42, settled for the post of Mr Gehlot’s deputy, but that did not end their feud. Mr Pilot alleges that the Chief Minister undermined and humiliated him constantly over the next two years.

  8. The fight boiled over when on Friday, Mr Pilot was asked to answer questions on alleged attempts to buy Congress MLAs for a coup by the BJP. Mr Gehlot had ordered the investigation last month when he put up Congress MLAs at a hotel for 10 days allegedly to keep them away from inducements by the BJP.

  9. While the Congress leadership has been seen to try and placate Mr Pilot, Mr Gehlot has been on the offensive against his former deputy. Yesterday his attack included a jibe that “good English and handsome looks is not everything.” The Chief Minister also doubled down on his allegations of horse-trading and accused Mr Pilot of deal-making.

  10. Sources say Mr Gehlot was asked to tone down his remarks, but not before he delivered some sharp digs at Mr Pilot – “We have the proof that horse-trading was being committed. Rs 20 crore was offered. Those who took the money are at the hotel. Our deputy chief minister and PCC (state Congress chief) himself was doing the deal and was giving statements that no horse-trading was taking place. What clarifications are you giving when you yourself were involved in it?”



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