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Rajasthan political crisis | We did not meet or speak with BJP: Sachin Pilot

Congress leader Sachin Pilot addressing the media at his residence in New Delhi on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot addressing the media at his residence in New Delhi on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

As the month-long rebellion in Rajasthan ended in a truce with the announcement of a three-member committee to look into the ‘grievances’ of the dissidents, Congress leader Sachin Pilot rejected allegations that he had been hobnobbing with the BJP to topple the Ashok Gehlot government.

“Not one of our MLAs have met or spoken with any BJP leaders. The Opposition [BJP] may have tried to do politics seeing the situation and take advantage of the fault lines. I repeat, not one of our MLAs spoke to them,” Mr. Pilot said in an interview to The Hindu.

On allegations of the rebel MLAs accepting the BJP’s hospitality, he said, “As far as our hotel bills and legal fees are concerned, we pooled our resources and paid them.”

What role do you see for yourself in the party now that the truce has been announced?

After I met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi-ji and Priyanka-ji [Priyanka Gandhi Vadra], the party announced a three-member committee and we have been assured of timebound resolution of the issues that we raised, including the style of leadership. The issues that we raised and whatever stand we took were principled issues and we didn’t have any personal interest.

Going forward, there should not be any vendetta against the MLAs and there should be participation from them in the government as well as the party. As for myself, I have never asked for any position and left it to the party. I have had many posts and performed many roles. Whatever role the party decides, I am happy to accept it.

Rajasthan is my karmabhoomi and I will continue to work for the people.

Congress announces truce in Rajasthan after Pilot meets Rahul, Priyanka

You talked about participation in government and party but there are reports that MLAs in the Gehlot camp don’t want any sops for the rebel MLAs.

I have not heard anything like this but we have all raised issues related to the people. After all, in three years, we will go back to the people. We had raised issues about accountability on the promises that we made to the people and getting answers. None of us has ever uttered one word against the party. I don’t think there can be two views on the question of having a more participatory government.

Also read: Congress to build on Rajasthan patch-up

There have been very bitter exchanges and the Chief Minister once referred to you as nikamma.

When I was called those names, as a human being, I must say I felt very bad. I was deeply saddened and hurt by the language used. Even my fiercest opponent had not used such language for me. I don’t think that two wrongs make a right. We must show some dignity of discourse in politics.

So, will you be able work together by putting this bitterness behind you?

In politics, there should not be any place for personal animosity and enmity. We should be able to steadfastly hold our views for the sake of the people who elected us. In my opinion, there is no place for personal attacks and animosity.

There is a view within the Congress that you were left with no option but go for a truce as your ‘camp’ was breaking up.

First of all, there was no ‘camp’ and all of us were together. Last night, except Bhanwar Lal Sharma-ji, all of us met senior leaders and Priyanka-ji. Bhanwar Lal-ji had told me that he is going as he had a stomach infection.

Look, the MLAs were from 14 districts, representing different communities. There was a former Speaker, former cabinet ministers and people who went to jail in 1977 in support of Indira Gandhi-ji. Do you think they can so easily leave the Congress?

From day one, I have been saying that I am not going to the BJP. In fact, it is from the other side that action started with SOG [Special Operations Group] notice, suspensions and so on. After 27 days, I am vindicated as we are where we were and have raised issues concerning the people and the party.

You were accused of hobnobbing with the BJP to topple your own government and taking hospitality from their government.

Not one of our MLAs have met or spoken with any BJP leaders. The Opposition [BJP] may have tried to do politics seeing the situation and take advantage of the fault lines. I repeat, not one of our MLAs spoke to them. As far as our hotel bills and legal fees are concerned, we had pooled our resources and paid them.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 6:24:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/not-one-of-our-mlas-spoke-to-or-met-bjp-leaders-says-sachin-pilot/article32327383.ece

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