Rajasthan: Out of Congress' cockpit, Pilot declares "Not joining BJP"
Sachin Pilot, who lost two important posts yesterday — Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and Congress President in the state — announced numerous times today that he is not joining Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Though he canceled a press conference scheduled for later today, Pilot spoke to media houses singing the same tune. He expressed displeasure at how CM Ashok Gehlot treated him.
Context: How did Congress' star drift far from the party?
Pilot, a favorite in Congress' Delhi circles, was never particularly close to his ex-boss, Gehlot. But when he was summoned in connection to a case pertaining to attempts of bringing down the government, he felt humiliated. That was perhaps the last straw. With his loyalists, he came to NCR and declared Gehlot lacks a majority. Congress tried placating him, but eventually burned all bridges.
Unlike Scindia, Pilot won't jump ships
When the crisis in Rajasthan sparked, reports suggested Pilot would join BJP, just like his former colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia. The royal's jump brought down Congress' government in Madhya Pradesh in March. Refuting these rumors, Pilot asked why would he join BJP when he worked tirelessly to bring Congress to power in Rajasthan. Interestingly, after he was sacked, BJP hinted they aren't averse to him.
BJP opened its arms for "any leader with mandate"
"Any leader who has the mandate of the people is welcome to join the BJP. If one is in agreement with our ideology, we will welcome him," Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is also a tall leader of BJP in Rajasthan, said.
But, Pilot maintained he is still a Congress member
As he rejected BJP's offer, Pilot also asserted that rumors were being floated about him to malign him "in the eyes of the Gandhis." "I am still a member of the Congress party," the 42-year-old told NDTV. In another interaction with India Today, Pilot said he wasn't angry with Gehlot. He just wanted the state government to honor the pre-poll promises.
Pilot is upset Gehlot undid everything he worked for
"We ran a campaign against illegal mining leases by (former CM) Vasundhara Raje government forcing the then BJP government to cancel those allotments. After coming to power, Gehlot ji did not do anything, instead walked the same path," he claimed.
Why will I work against my own party, asked Pilot
When asked why he didn't raise his issues on the party's platform, Pilot claimed that he was ignored by AICC in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande. On allegations that he worked with BJP to topple the government, he said, "I have worked hard to make Congress win in Rajasthan. Why will I work against my own party?" He also said his self-respect was hurt.
Some within Congress felt Pilot wanted many things, too fast
Pilot's unceremonious exit from Congress also reignited the oldies v/s newbies debate, with many of his colleagues asking him to remain patient. Former Assam Chief Minister and Congress Working Committee (CWC) member, Tarun Gogoi, said, "If you can manage majority (in CLP), then alright. Otherwise, wait for your turn." Mahila Congress Chief and ex-MP Sushmita Dev also said Pilot "should have waited."
"Politics is not fast food"
"One should learn to wait. This generation should know that politics is not fast food. Patience is required. Patience is in short supply these days," said Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar, who is also a former parliamentarian.