Sachin Pilot Meets Rahul, Priyanka as Congress Hopes for a Truce in Rajasthan
In what is likely to raise hopes of a truce for Congress party over the ongoing political stalemate in Rajasthan, dissenting leader and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met former party president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday afternoon, according to people aware of developments. The move is significant because senior leaders feel it could potentially be a step forward in breaking the deadlock in Rajasthan where Pilot along with 17 MLAs has raised a banner of revolt against chief minister Ashok Gehlot but they, however, caution that a lot will depend on what are the terms of engagement put on the discussion table. “The meeting of Pilot took place on Monday afternoon at Rahul Gandhi’s residence. We know at this stage that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also present in the meeting.
It was regarding the political happenings in Rajasthan but there are no details available for now," a senior party leader aware of developments said requesting anonymity. The meeting of Pilot with the apex leadership of the Congress party comes just four days ahead of the assembly session of Rajasthan which has been called on Friday. Congress could likely take a trust vote to express its mandate in the House. Currently, all MLAs who have owed allegiance to Gehlot are stationed at a resort for nearly a month now. Another party leader said that while the meeting on Monday was a “positive development" but it was too early to gauge what its outcome could be.
“Much has changed over the last month. The pilot has been removed as both deputy chief minister and state unit chief of the party. Any negotiation will happen only when both sides take a clear stand on who is willing to walk how many steps. We have to also keep in mind that right now the talks are limited to Delhi and the views of Rajasthan’s top leadership will also be crucial," the second party leader said. The second leader added that both Rahul and Priyanka would be discussing the issue with party president Sonia Gandhi later in the day.
Officially, Congress has 107 MLAs which comprises 19 MLAs including Sachin Pilot have turned dissidents and 6 MLAs from BSP which had merged the party with Congress and is now being contested legally. In the 200 member assembly, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has 72 MLAs while its allies account for 4 seats. Breaking his silence for the first time since the events of the day unfolded, Pilot said on late Monday evening that he was hopeful the three-member committee will address all the concerns raised. "We wanted to raise some issues related to the functioning of the government...these issues were ideological and we thought it was important to put it in front of the party," Pilot told reporters in the national capital.
"A lot of things were said and some personal comments were made which surprised me but politics does not have that space. We are all stakeholders in the government," he said. "Party gives posts, it can take posts also. I am not greedy about the post but we wanted that the self-respect should continue," he added. On late Monday evening, Congress' senior leadership including Vadra, Venugopal, and treasurer Ahmed Patel held a meeting to discuss the developments.
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