Rajasthan political crisis | Sachin Pilot says he is not joining BJP

“There seems to be a planned effort to tarnish my name and image,” he says.

Updated - November 28, 2021 12:47 pm IST

Published - July 15, 2020 10:32 am IST - New Delhi

Sachin Pilot

Sachin Pilot

Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Wednesday categorically denied that he was joining the BJP and maintained that he continued to be a legislator from Rajasthan’s Tonk constituency.

In an exclusive interview with The Hindu,  he, however, made it clear that he would not compromise on his self-respect and would decide on his next course after talking to his supporters.

The party, however, sent out a mixed signal, with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reportedly making a fresh call to Mr. Pilot while the All India Congress Committee (AICC) announced the dissolution of all the district level committees that had his appointees.

“The propaganda that I am joining the BJP is absolutely false. There seems to be a planned effort to tarnish my name and image. No, I am not joining the BJP,” Mr. Pilot told The Hindu  over phone. 

The former Rajasthan Congress chief, however, confirmed that he had been in touch with party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra earlier but “those talks have not led to any resolution.”

On a day when the Congress initiated moves to disqualify Mr. Pilot and his supporters as lawmakers in the Assembly, he countered by asserting that he had not said anything against the party’s interest. 

“I have not spoken a word against my party,” he said, adding “I am here with my genuine grievances against Ashok Gehlot ji.”

Asked what his main grievance was, he said, “The notice [sent by Special Operations Group (SOG)] and the humiliation that I have had to face in the past one and a half years.”

The power struggle between Mr. Gehlot and his deputy had been going on for quite some time but the latest flash point was triggered by a notice from the SOG of Rajasthan police to the Deputy Chief Minister .

The SOG had sought time from Mr. Pilot to record his statement in a case of conspiracy and sedition registered after attempts were allegedly made by the BJP to bribe Congress MLAs to switch sides during last month’s Rajya Sabha elections.

“The party's doors have not been closed for Mr. Pilot. May God grant him good sense and realize his mistake. I pray that he comes out out of the elusive trap of the BJP,”AICC’s Rajasthan in charge Avinash Pande tweeted in response to Mr Pilot’s interview.

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