After Sunday’s events in Jaipur, all eyes are on former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot who has maintained a studied silence, and as per sources, is now awaiting the final judgment by Congress President Sonia Gandhi before deciding the future course of action.
Mr. Pilot was largely expected to take over the reins of Rajasthan from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. While the pro-Gehlot camp marched 92 MLAs that included many independents, Mr. Pilot’s support has further depleted with at least four of the 18 MLAs who stood by him in the July 2020 rebellion also submitting resignation papers.
Since Sunday night at least two of the four MLAs have spoken out insisting that they will stick by the decision taken by the party “high command”.
KL Bairwa, a MLA supporting Mr. Pilot said that many MLAs landed up at Cabinet Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal’s residence because of confusion. “They received a call from Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi and many of them landed there without realizing what they are in for.
Speaking to reporters, Bagru MLA Ganga Devi said she did not resign. “I am clear that I will stand by whatever decision taken by the party’s central leadership. I could not meet the central observers because of the events of last night,” Ms. Devi said.
‘Unaware of resignation letter’
Another MLA from Bamanwas constituency Indira Meena said that though she signed some papers, she wasn’t aware that it was a resignation letter. She said that at first she was invited for the Congress Legislature Party meeting at the Chief Minister’s residence which was scheduled for 7 p.m. But before she could reach there she got a flurry of calls asking her instead to come to Mr. Dhariwal’s house. “I was in my constituency and reached Jaipur late in the evening. I was told to come to Speaker C.P. Joshi’s residence instead, there a paper was circulated which every one signed, including me. But I didn’t read it,” Ms. Meena said. When pointedly asked if she is opposed to Mr. Pilot, Ms. Meena said that she had no problem with him, repeating the same line as Ms. Devi, that she would stand by whatever decision the party leadership takes.
Mr. Pilot on his part has maintained a studied silence. Sources said he is waiting for Ms. Gandhi’s ruling on Sunday night’s events. “Congress State in-charge Ajay Maken has already said holding a parallel meeting when a formal meeting of the Congress Legislature Party was scheduled amounts to indiscipline. It remains to be seen who will be punished for this and if the Congress leadership punishes Ashok Gehlot who clearly orchestrated the entire rebellion,” an MLA close to Mr. Pilot said.
This is the second time in two years that Mr. Pilot has been outsmarted by Mr. Gehlot and his supporters. In July 2020, when he first raised a rebellion staking claim for the Chief Minister’s post, he could gather only 18 MLAs and this time around, even those 18 didn’t stick around.