The political scenario in Rajasthan has been filled with speculation on the next step of former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader Sachin Pilot. In the midst of these speculations, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken a dig at the Congress, suggesting that Pilot's political plane is in "auto mode". He said that the demands made by Pilot before Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are still pending and the CM has not responded to them.
"Where will Sachin Pilot’s plane, which is in auto-mode, land on June 11, time will tell. His demands are pending before the government and the Chief Minister has not responded to them," Rathore told ANI. The saffron party leader said that Pilot has stayed in the news whether for his “caustic remarks” as Deputy Chief Minister or for his 'Jan Sangarsh Yatra'.
“What he does on June 11 depends on him but all the issues for which he raised Jan Sangarsh Yatra have remained unanswered,” he added. He also claimed that there is no end to factionalism in the grand-old-party.
Further, Rathore slammed the Gehlot government saying that the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) has not been reconstituted and those responsible for the paper leak have not been exposed.
Notably, there has been speculation that Pilot may float his party on June 11-- the death anniversary of his father Rajesh Pilot. Though the Congress leadership has ruled this out, there is a possibility of a show of strength by his supporters on June 11.
On Friday, Congress general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP KC Venugopal dismissed the rumours of Pilot floating a new party. He emphasised that the party remains united and will contest the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan together.
"I don't believe in rumours. The reality is that the Congress president and Rahul Gandhi discussed with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot and after that, we said that we will go together. That is the position of the Congress party," Venugopal told PTI.
When asked about reports of Pilot forming a new party, he said, "In my knowledge, there is no such thing," adding that the media should not believe in these rumours. "Who told you he is going out of the party? These are imaginary... rumours. Don't believe these rumours. Be optimistic. Don't worry, we will fight unitedly. The Rajasthan Congress will fight unitedly," the Congress leader said.
Notably, in a bid to avoid the party's prospect for the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, former party leader Rahul Gandhi, and Venugopal recently engaged in extensive discussions with both Gehlot and Pilot. Following hours of deliberations, it was announced that the two leaders would join forces and contest the forthcoming assembly polls together, demonstrating a united front.
The power struggle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot dates back to the formation of the Congress government in Rajasthan in 2018. While Gehlot assumed the position of Chief Minister, Pilot, who spearheaded the Congress campaign, was appointed Deputy CM. However, in 2020, Pilot led a revolt against the Gehlot government, resulting in his removal from the posts of the party's state unit president and deputy chief minister.
Last year, an attempt by the high command to effect a leadership change in Rajasthan failed as Gehlot loyalists resisted and prevented a legislature party meeting from taking place. This power tussle has created significant friction within the Congress party, leading to uncertainties about Pilot's future role.
(With inputs from agencies)