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As Gehlot-Pilot mudslinging continues, BJP has a field day

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Jaipur, Nov 25: Amid the Bharat Jodo Yatra's fanfare, the party seems to be witnessing an increasing rift between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. The mudslinging and name-calling took a fresh turn when Rajasthan Chief Minister called Sachin Pilot a 'gaddar' (traitor) on Thursday and said he cannot replace him as he had revolted against the Congress in 2020 and tried to topple his own government.

Speaking on the eve of the Bharat Jodo Yatra's entry into the state, Gehlot in an exclusive interview with NDTV on Thursday, called Pilot a traitor six times. "A man who doesn't have 10 MLAs, who revolted against his own party. A gaddar (traitor) cannot be Chief Minister," Gehlot told a TV channel, reacting to the 2020 revolt which Pilot led before returning to the party. Pilot was thereafter removed from the Deputy CM's post.

As Gehlot-Pilot mudslinging continues, BJP has a field day

The remarks have further widened the fissures in the Congress party in Rajasthan, where Assembly polls are slated next year. The Bharat Jodo Yatra, led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, is also set to enter the desert state, as reported by PTI.

Pilot replies back

Reacting to Gehlot's remarks, Pilot rebuffed the claims made by Chief Minister Gehlot. News agency ANI quoted him as saying, ''Ashok Gehlot called me nakara, gaddar... they are baseless allegations. There is no need for it". He further added that the grand old party's priority should be to win polls in Rajasthan again. The state goes to polls next year.''

'Baseless’: Sachin Pilot responds to Gehlot's 'traitor’ jibe'Baseless’: Sachin Pilot responds to Gehlot's 'traitor’ jibe

It may be recalled on September 25, MLAs from Gehlot's faction had boycotted a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting which had planned to install Pilot as the CM. The MLAs instead assembled at the bungalow of Urban Development Minister Shanti Dhariwal and submitted their resignation. This led to Gehlot withdrawing from the race for the Congress chief presidency. Party circles have been rife with speculation of a possible change of guard in the state.

Even as infighting between the Gehlot and Pilot camps continues, political temperature within the party is high, with leaders supporting former deputy chief minister Pilot demanding solutions to existing issues.

BJP takes a swipe

However, the BJP is not letting go of the opportunity to take a swipe at the rival party. Reacting to the interview, BJP leader Rajyavardhan Rathore said Gehlot was accusing the BJP of something the Congress had mastered.

"By the way, the Congress party was split by Motilal Nehru as well as by Indira Gandhi. Now Gehlot ji is calling Pilot a traitor by making similar allegations! This has been the practice of the Congress, they were guilty of the same kind of betrayal," Rathore tweeted.

Satish Poonia, the BJP's Rajasthan unit chief, also took a one-word jibe as he shared the video of the interview: "Gaddar (traitor)".

Congress tries to bring the focus back on 'Yatra'

The Congress meanwhile, was quick to downplay the rising tension in Rajasthan and said that their differences would be resolved in a manner that strengthens the party and asserted that the focus right now should be on the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Traitor like Sachin Pilot cannot be CM: Ashok GehlotTraitor like Sachin Pilot cannot be CM: Ashok Gehlot

"Ashok Gehlot is a senior and experienced political leader. Whatever differences he has expressed with his younger colleague Sachin Pilot will be resolved in a manner that strengthens the Congress," said Jairam Ramesh, General Secretary in-charge Communications, Congress.

Congress's Bharat Jodo Yatra has completed nearly half of its journey, covering seven states in the past 77 days. The Yatra has so far covered parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana before entering Maharashtra.

Bharat Jodo Yatra, which began on September 7 from Kanyakumari, is expected to cover a distance of 3,570-km. It will end in Kashmir next year.

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