Traitor like Sachin Pilot cannot be CM: Ashok Gehlot
New Delhi, Nov 24: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday dismissed the demand to make Sachin Pilot the next chief minister of the state, saying a "gaddar (traitor) cannot be chief minister".
In an exclusive interview with NDTV on Thursday, Gehlot 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 said on Thursday.
Gehlot's statement comes when Sachin Pilot's camp is seen pushing Congress to make him the chief minister.
Meanwhile, Gurjar leader Vijay Singh Bainsla has threatened to oppose Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Rajasthan unless his demand to make Sachin Pilot the chief minister is accepted.
"The current Congress government has completed four years and one year is left. Now Sachin Pilot should be made the chief minister. If this happens, then you (Rahul Gandhi) are welcome. We will oppose otherwise," he said on Monday night.
The Gurjar community constitutes five to six per cent of the state's population and is influential in over 40 seats, mainly in eastern Rajasthan. This region includes the districts from where the yatra is scheduled to pass.
Gehlot is unwilling to cede any space to Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, while Pilot has been eyeing CM's post for a long time now.
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.
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.
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.