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'I am sad and hurt, but...': Sachin Pilot on Gaddar jibe

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Sachin Pilot said he is stuck to his official position that the leadership issue "is up to the party" and "all of us have to work together".

New Delhi, Dec 06: Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Tuesday played down the ongoing rift in the party but admitted that he felt "sad and hurt" after Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot described him as a "gaddar" (traitor) recently.

"Yes, I am a politician. But I am also a human being. I did feel sad and hurt. I don't want to go into the past," Pilot told NDTV in an interview.

Sachin Pilot

"In public life I maintain a dignity in discourse... But you have to move on. And I have a job at hand and a mission at hand. We have to move forward," he added.

Pilot also slammed the BJP for taking potshots at the Congress over his differences with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, saying that "sounds rich" coming from the BJP which has at least a dozen claimants for the post of chief minister.

"There is so much disunity in the BJP. They have not even been able to establish themselves as a proper opposition in the last four years in Rajasthan," Pilot told PTI in an interview on a day the Bharat Jodo Yatra enters Rajasthan.

His remarks come days after a major row erupted following Gehlot's remarks that Pilot is a 'gaddar' (traitor) and cannot replace him. The remarks drew a sharp response from Pilot who had said it was unbecoming of Gehlot's stature to use that kind of language and that such "mud-slinging" would not help at a time the focus should be on the yatra.

Gehlot vs Pilot saga

Congress rout in 2013

The Gehlot vs Pilot war dates back to 2013 when the Congress was at its lowest in Rajasthan winning just 21 of 200 seats in Assembly polls. Pilot, a young Congress leader was given the task of reviving the grand old party's fortunes in Rajasthan.

Pilot, who is said to be close to Rahul Gandhi, took the lead while Gehlot was inducted into a screening committee for Punjab polls in 2016 and was made a general secretary in Delhi in 2017.

2018 crisis

In 2018, Gehlot and Pilot were at loggerheads for the chief minister's post soon after the Congress won the Assembly elections as the high command then chose Gehlot as the chief minister overlooking Pilot's efforts.

Sachin Pilot staged a rebellion with 18 Congress MLAs staying away from legislative party meetings, defying the chief minister and the party.

Pilot speaks against Gehlot

The feud between the top two leaders in Rajasthan became wide open in 2019 with Sachin Pilot going in public to criticise the law and order situation in the state by saying the government needs to work "more seriously" on law and order in the state.

Pilot alleged that the situation in his state had "deteriorated" and that the government needed to do more.

This was seen as a direct attack on Gehlot, who held the home portfolio and caused quite a bit of embarrassment for the government.

Later in January 2020, criticising his own government over the deaths of 107 children in Kota's state-run JK Lon Hospital, Sachin Pilot said their response to the infant deaths could have been more sensitive.

Pilot said it was not a small incident and also stressed that accountability for the entire episode should be fixed.

2020 crisis

Ashok Gehlot alleged that Pilot has been planning a political coup with BJP since the formation of the government in 2019.

Rajasthan police issued notices to Pilot to record his statement in connection with the alleged attempts to "topple" the Congress government. This became another flash point where Pilot showed first signs of rebellion.

Pilot, skipped two crucial meetings called by CM Gehlot and stayed put at a hotel in Manesar along with 18 MLAs in his camp amid reports that he was in talks with the BJP. Later, the Congress sacked Sachin Pilot as the Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and the state party chief, and two Rajasthan ministers, who had joined the Pilot camp, were dropped from the cabinet.

Though Congress managed to find a solution to the 2020 rebellion, the infighting between the Sachin Pilot and Gehlot camp remains a problem for Ashok Gehlot time and again.

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