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In deeply divided Rajasthan Congress, all eyes on Pilot's next big move

The Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra might have passed peacefully through Rajasthan


Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 Feb 2023 8:05 AM GMT

JAIPUR: The Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra might have passed peacefully through Rajasthan, but the divide in the Gehlot and Pilot camps seems to be ever-widening as there is no let-up in the war of words between the two groups. While Gehlot in one of his videos alluded to Pilot as a big corona in the party, Pilot questioned his own government over the paper leaks.

This intense war of words started soon after Rahul Gandhi's yatra passed through Rajasthan peacefully at a time when all eyes were on the high command to see if it will take any decision regarding a change of leadership in the state.

However, after an endless wait, when there was no hint of any change or action from Delhi, Sachin Pilot started his Kisan Sammelans in different parts of the state which drew huge crowds.

In one of these sammelans, Pilot made a veiled attack on the Ashok Gehlot government and said that the state should take action against the "big sharks" behind the string of recruitment exam paper leaks reported recently. In response, the Rajasthan CM said the action taken by his government was against the kingpins in this scam.

Gehlot also refuted the Opposition allegations that leaders of his party or government officials were involved in the second grade teacher recruitment paper leak. This leak happened when the two camps were in a face-off in 2023.

The next incident showing the rift in the two camps was a video which surfaced. It showed the Rajasthan chief minister purportedly saying that a "big Corona" entered the Congress after the pandemic, indicating that all's not well in the party. While Gehlot did not take any name, the remark was widely seen as being directed at Pilot.

Pilot, in return, took a veiled dig at Gehlot saying elders should think about the younger generation and young people should get justice. He also said leaders should never use words for opponents that they cannot hear for themselves.

Meanwhile, veteran Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was in Jaipur in January for the Jaipur Literature Festival. When he was asked about the leaders' history of calling each other names, Tharoor advised his colleagues to be mindful of their words. "We should weigh the words carefully before directing them at our party colleagues. I am proud of the fact that in my 14-year political career, I have never used such words for anyone. Once or twice I said that I prefer not to wrestle in the mud." As these barbs continued to haunt the party in January, Rajasthan party in-charge, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa once again announced that any decision on Rajasthan will be taken after the completion of Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra on January 30.

It was expected that Gehlot will present the budget and then there might be some announcement. However, once again, the wait has started to see if the high command takes any action after the September 25 incident when the Gehlot camp MLAs called a parallel meeting to the high command's meeting regarding a leadership change.

It was reported that over 91 MLAs had resigned in the meeting. However, recently in the high court it was submitted on record that 81 MLAs had resigned and their resignations were not voluntary and hence they were rejected by the Speaker.

Deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore had submitted a PIL in the High Court requesting the court to intervene as a decision on the resignations of the 91 MLAs was pending with the Speaker even after three months. The judiciary sought answers from the Speaker and hence came the reply that the resignations were not voluntary. This again triggered more speculation. It is no secret that Pilot, a former deputy chief minister of the state as well as former Rajasthan Congress chief, has been locked in a power tussle with chief minister Ashok Gehlot for quite some time, as the state Congress unit stays riddled by factionalism.

Pilot started his travels on January 16 and had meetings with farmers in Bikaner and Hanumangarh.

These meetings ramped up pressure on the Congress top leadership to take a call on a change of guard in the state — something that was on hold, according to party sources, so that the Bharat Jodo Yatra could traverse Rajasthan controversy-free. (IANS)

Also Read: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi snubs party colleague Digvijaya Singh

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