Rajasthan govt crisis: Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi in touch with Sachin Pilot, trying to placate him
New Delhi, Jul 13: Top Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, are in touch with Sachin Pilot and are trying to placate him, a day after the Rajasthan Deputy CM declared open rebellion against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, sources said on Monday.
Pilot has claimed that the Ashok Gehlot government is in minority and that he has the support of over 30 MLAs in the 200-member Assembly. According to sources, top Congress leaders have talked to Pilot and have asked him not to rebel against the chief minister. They also assured him that his grievances would be redressed at the party level.
Besides Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, other Congress leaders who are learnt to have spoken with Pilot are Ahmed Patel, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal. It was not immediately known what transpired during the discussions. Sources said the leaders asked Pilot to attend a Congress Legislature Party meeting in Jaipur, but he has not given any assurance.
Pilot, who is in Delhi, has not been taking calls of many party leaders. AICC general secretary in-charge for Rajasthan Avinash Pande has said that Pilot has not been responding to calls and messages have been left with him.
Pilot has raised a banner of revolt against Gehlot, after the special operations group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police sent a notice to him for appearing before it in the case involving "horse-trading" of MLAs in the state.
The SOG has registered an FIR in this regard and has also sent notices to the chief minister, chief whip of Congress and some ministers and MLAs. Meanwhile, the Congress has pulled out all the stops to save its government in Rajasthan and CM Gehlot has convened a meeting of the state legislature party. Pilot, who is also the state Congress president, is miffed with Gehlot and has alleged that he was not being kept in the loop on key decisions.
The Congress Legislature Party meeting began about three hours later than scheduled, with ministers and MLAs flashed victory signs for the cameras. The Congress said 109 MLAs have already expressed support for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, rejecting the claim by Deputy Chief Minister and the party's state unit president Sachin Pilot that the senior leader does not have the majority. About 100 MLAs had walked into the chief minister's residence by 12.30 pm, an hour before the meeting actually started. But some MLAs considered close to Pilot had not arrived till then.