Sachin Pilot meets Gandhis; Congress panel to address his grievances
Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot met with the party's Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday. The meeting lasted about two-three hours. The development comes a month after Pilot, the former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, rebelled against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and defected with 18 other rebels. Reportedly, the Congress party will form a panel to address Pilot's grievances. Here's all that happened.
Last month, after Pilot and the others rebelled, they claimed the Congress government in Rajasthan had lost the majority in the Legislative Assembly. Gehlot had alleged that the rebel legislators were working in connivance with the opposition BJP to topple his government. The Assembly session will begin from August 14 and Gehlot is likely to seek a trust vote to prove his majority.
At the meeting, the Gandhis agreed to address "all issues" regarding Rajasthan, sources told NDTV. The issues to be addressed include Gehlot's style of functioning. Notably, Gehlot and his former deputy Pilot have not seen eye-to-eye. Pilot had also sought the removal of Gehlot as CM. It remains unclear if Pilot, who was sacked as Deputy CM and state Congress chief, would be reinstated.
Even as the Congress party is seeking a resolution—after facing a similar setback in Madhya Pradesh in March—sources told NDTV that Pilot is unlikely to be reinstated as the state party chief. They said that removing Gehlot as CM is also "out of the question."
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said in a statement, "They have had a frank, open and conclusive discussion. Shri Sachin Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan." He said a three-member panel will address the issues raised by "Sachin Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs and arrive at an appropriate resolution thereof."
Pilot had reportedly been in touch with the Congress leadership the past few days. Priyanka had met Pilot two weeks ago in Delhi, following which, talks were held at various levels. However, Priyanka's earlier attempts at allaying issues with Pilot were not fruitful as the latter continued to seek Gehlot's removal as CM. It was also said that Pilot was eyeing the CM seat.
Despite the "breakthrough" meeting, issues with the party's Rajasthan unit remain. A Congress Legislature Party meeting was held at a hotel in Jaisalmer Sunday night. Reportedly, Congress legislators said that the 19 rebels should not be allowed any homecoming. During the meeting, Gehlot said, "We are going to win this war," asking the legislators to show unity on the floor of the House.