Rajasthan Congress crisis: The Congress party on Monday announced that it will fight the Rajasthan assembly elections unitedly as both CM Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot have agreed to the proposal. The statement was made by Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal after a key party meeting attended by Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, Gehlot and Pilot in Delhi.
Earlier today, Gehlot met Kharge at his residence at around 6 pm, a few minutes after which Gandhi also joined them. The Congress chief and Gandhi held deliberations with Gehlot for about half an hour, after which the party's in-charge for Rajasthan Sukhjinder Randhawa was called in.
Pilot, who has been attacking the Gehlot government over the issue of inaction on corruption during the previous BJP government led by Vasundhara Raje, joined the meeting after two hours at Kharge's residence. This is the first time after a long gap that the Rajasthan CM and his former deputy are meeting face-to-face in the presence of top party leadership.
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and party leader from Rajasthan Jitendra Singh were also present at the meeting.
Kharge likely to mediate tussle
Kharge and Gandhi are holding parleys with leaders of poll-bound states in order to evolve the party strategy for the assembly elections to corner the BJP in these states. The party leadership is also working hard to resolve the infighting in the Rajasthan unit ahead of assembly polls and set at rest the differences between the two leaders. The Congress brass has already held discussions with top leaders from Madhya Pradesh in the morning, after which Gandhi said the party would win 150 seats in the state.
Earlier, Gehlot said the party's high command is strong and it will never offer any position to any leader or worker to pacify him.
The meeting comes close on the heels of Pilot's "ultimatum" that if three demands he made from the state government were not met by the end of this month, he would launch a state-wide agitation. Pilot has asked for a high-level inquiry into the alleged scams that took place during the tenure of the former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje government, as one of his demands.
What Gehlot said
Speaking to reporters earlier, Gehlot said there is no such tradition in the party to offer posts to any leader in order to pacify him. "As far as I know, there is no such tradition in the Congress where any leader demands something and the party high command offers to give that position. We have not heard of such a formula ever," he said when asked about reports of a formula being worked out to rope in Pilot.
Rubbishing such reports, he said it is only the creation of the media and some leaders may be getting such stories planted. "Never has such a thing happened in the Congress so far and neither will it happen in the future. The Congress party and the high command are very strong and no leader or worker has the courage to demand any position. It does not happen like that," the chief minister asserted.
Gehlot and Pilot have been engaged in a power tussle since the Congress formed government in the state in 2018. In 2020, Pilot led a failed revolt against the Gehlot government after which he was removed from the posts of the party's state unit president and deputy chief minister.
Pilot had last month defied a warning from the party and went ahead with a day-long fast targeting Gehlot over his "inaction" on alleged corruption during the previous Raje government.