Rajasthan political crisis | Gehlot launches fresh attack on Sachin Pilot

CM Ashok Gelot said no demand was raised to change the PCC president, a post which Sachin Pilot held for the last seven years in Rajasthan

Updated - July 20, 2020 10:42 pm IST

Published - July 20, 2020 04:40 pm IST - Jaipur

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot flashes victory sign during a meeting with the party MLAs at his residence in Jaipur. File

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot flashes victory sign during a meeting with the party MLAs at his residence in Jaipur. File

Amid the ongoing political turmoil, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday launched a fresh attack on his former deputy Sachin Pilot , describing him as a “worthless person”, who was conspiring for the last six months to topple the State government despite the Congress promoting him at his young age. “In a game lasting 10 to 12 years, he has achieved everything in the party,” he said.

Mr. Gehlot told reporters outside a luxury hotel, where the MLAs supporting him were staying, that he had not raised any question on Mr. Pilot's conduct despite his failure as the Pradesh Congress Committee chief because of the party's interest. “But he backstabbed the Congress... He wanted to form a third front in Rajasthan,” Mr. Gehlot said.

Also read: Re-entry of rebels on merit, says Congress

In an unusual flurry of invective, Mr. Gehlot said the Congress leaders knew that Mr. Pilot was nikamma (worthless) and naakaara (good for nothing) and was only putting the people against each other. “He used to tell people: I have not come here to sell brinjals. I am here to become the CM. You decide you are with whom,” said Mr. Gehlot.

Last week, Mr. Gehlot took a swipe at Mr. Pilot with the remarks that being fluent in English, giving good television bytes and being handsome was not everything in politics. On Monday, Mr. Gehlot made some additions, saying: “He has an innocent face. He has good command on Hindi and English. He has made a good impression on the media.”

Also read: Rajasthan political crisis | Congress claims majority, asks rebels to return

“He gave an impression as if it was he who worked hard to bring the Congress back to power [in 2018]. People actually know how little was his contribution... Even then, we never questioned him,” Mr. Gehlot said. Rajasthan was the only State where no demand was raised to change the PCC president in seven years, he added.

The Chief Minister said nobody would have ever heard in history that a party's State chief was busy toppling his own government. He also claimed that some MLAs of the Pilot camp, whose phones were snatched away, wanted to return. Asked about a floor test in the State Assembly, he said “all decisions” would be taken in due course.

Also read: Rajasthan political crisis | BJP has openly admitted to murdering democracy, says Congress

Mr. Pilot later responded to a charge levelled by a Congress MLA that he (Mr. Pilot) had offered him money before the Rajya Sabha election to switch to the BJP . Mr. Pilot said the baseless allegation was made “solely to malign me and to stifle the legitimate concerns that I had raised against the party leadership of the State, as a member and MLA of Congress.”

“This attempt further aims at defaming me and attack my credibility,” Mr. Pilot said in a statement released through his media adviser here. He said the narrative was being redirected to avoid addressing the “main issue”.

Also read: Rajasthan political crisis | Sachin Pilot’s rebellion with 30 MLAs puts Ashok Gehlot government on edge

The former Deputy CM said more such concocted allegations would be thrown at him to cause aspersions on his public image. “I will be taking appropriate and strictest possible legal action against the MLA who was made to make these accusations... I shall be unfettered and remain firm in my beliefs and convictions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the hearing in the Rajasthan High Court on a writ petition moved by Mr. Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs challenging the Assembly Speaker's disqualification notices remained inconclusive on Monday. The hearing will continue on Tuesday, when a direction is likely to be passed by the evening when the Speaker is to take a decision on the notices.

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