Congress factionalism Other States

Senior Rajasthan Congress leader comes out in support of Sachin Pilot

Sachin Pilot. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid renewed factionalism in the Rajasthan Congress between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, former Speaker of the Rajasthan Assembly Depender Singh Shekhawat has openly come out in support of Mr. Pilot.

Mr. Shekhawat, who has been a five-term MLA, issued a statement, saying the issue in Rajasthan was not about Cabinet expansion but about honouring the Congress workers who played a key role in the 2018 Assembly elections victory.

His statement comes two days after the Chief Minister’s Office issued a statement that Mr. Gehlot would not meet anyone in person for the next one to two months as a precaution in view of his condition following his recovery from COVID-19.

This statement was interpreted as the Chief Minister conveying it to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) that he was in no hurry to carry out a Cabinet expansion.

Committee formation

After Mr. Pilot and his supporters rebelled against the Chief Minister last July, the AICC set up a three-member committee to resolve the differences and accommodate Mr. Pilot’s supporters in the Cabinet. It was seen as one of the steps to arrive at a compromise.

Mr. Shekhawat said, “These reports of a bargain going on for number of positions in the Cabinet, boards and corporations are absolutely false. Mr. Pilot and all of us have been striving to seek honour and self-respect for the grass roots congress workers”.

“Those who valiantly took on the wrath of the BJP governments of Vasundhara Raje and Modi from 2014 onwards gave their sweat and blood to revive the Congress after it suffered its worst-ever defeat in 2013 - getting only 21 seats out of 200. They need to get adequate recognition and respect now that we are the party in power,” he stated.

Mr. Shekhawat argued that political appointments should be given to “those who have carried the burden of making the Congress win at the polling booths and not to cherry-picked retired bureaucrats and officers whose loyalties are temporary, at best”.

He added, “We have full faith in the commitment made by the high command to address all such issues which we have raised”.

Mr. Shekhawat’s statement is seen as an assertion by the Pilot camp after reports that some of his loyalists may have joined the Gehlot camp.

Mr. Pilot didn’t respond when The Hindu reached out to him for a comment.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 11:28:56 AM |

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