Three days after the Congress declared an end to its Rajasthan government crisis, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will meet Sachin Pilot, who revolted against him. The bitter rivals are expected to return face-to-face at a Congress Legislature Party meeting scheduled for tomorrow, each day before the session of the Rajasthan assembly.
Sachin Pilot returned to Jaipur yesterday, ending his month-long rebellion after a gathering with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who reassured him that his grievances would be addressed. But he arrived to a chilly reception from Mr Gehlot, who chose to fly to Jaisalmer, where he had put up 100-odd MLAs to protect his flock for a possible trust vote on Friday.
Mr Gehlot said Congress MLAs are “naturally upset” about the truce but everyone has got to advance . “Forget and forgive,” he declared while meticulously avoiding any chance of a “reunion” photo-op with Mr Pilot.
“It is natural for the MLAs to be upset. the way during which this episode occurred and therefore the way during which they stayed for a month, it had been natural. I’ve explained to them that sometimes we’d like to be tolerant if we’ve to serve the state , state, people and save the democracy,” the Chief Minister told reporters.
“We need to forgive mistakes and be united for the sake of democracy. quite 100 MLAs stood by me. That in itself is remarkable.”
The MLAs on Team Gehlot returned to Jaipur today and were driven straight to Fairmont, an equivalent resort that they had stayed in during the rebel crisis. they’re likely to remain there till the Friday session, a symbol that Mr Gehlot isn’t dropping his guard.
The government is yet to spell out whether there’ll be a floor test as Mr Gehlot had originally planned, but it’s clear that the Chief Minister will want to determine his majority on the very first day.
The unresolved bitterness between the Congress’s Rajasthan top two seeped through in their remarks to the media yesterday. Mr Pilot, who was sacked as Mr Gehlot’s deputy and publicly excoriated by him, admitted that he was hurt at being called “nikamma (useless)”.
“Some unparliamentary and inappropriate terms were used. to not say that i used to be not offended, i’m human. I did feel hurt and disappointed, but we’ve larger mission and name-calling shouldn’t be a deterrent,” he said.
Mr Gehlot said if the party leadership had decided to forgive the rebel MLAs, he would “give them a warm hug”. But he avoided questions on how he would re-embrace a person he had dubbed “nikamma” and corrupt.
Many Congress MLAs openly resented the way Mr. Pilot and 18 more rebels were allowed back in without reparation. “We stood by the party so we feel hurt. you cannot buy milk and water at an equivalent rate,” grumbled Prashant Bairwa, an MLA.