Amid infighting in Rajasthan Congress, party leader Pawan Khera on Wednesday dismissed as a ”joke” and as ”laughable” former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot’s remark that a recent speech of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot indicated his real leader is BJP’s Vasundhara Raje and not Sonia Gandhi.
Gehlot had claimed that he survived a revolt in 2020 by some Congress MLAs because BJP leaders Vasundhara Raje and Kailash Meghwal refused to support a conspiracy to topple an elected government through money power.
On Tuesday, Pilot mounted a no-holds-barred attack on Gehlot saying his speech indicated his real leader is Raje and not his Sonia Gandhi.
Asked to comment on Pilot’s remark, Congress’s head of media and publicity department Pawan Khera said, ”He would have said something jokingly, one can’t sort that out. He will get a response in the same manner.” On whether there would be any action against Pilot, he said, ”There is an in-charge for every state in every party and he will take a decision accordingly.” To further questions, he said the Rajasthan in-charge of the Congress will make his decision public after discussions within the party.
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”I felt it was like a joke because it was laughable for me,” Khera said when asked to clarify on his ”joke” remark on Sachin Pilot’s comment on Gehlot.
”It is clear from the chief minister’s speech in Dholpur on why no action is being taken, and why it won’t happen,” Pilot said, in an apparent reference to Gehlot mentioning Raje’s ”help”.
Raje, a former chief minister of Rajasthan, however, said that ”Gehlot’s ‘praises’ are a big conspiracy” against her and the Congress leader was speaking lies due to rebellion in his party.
Gehlot had also taken potshots at the rebel Congress MLAs on Sunday, saying they should return the money they had taken from the BJP so that they can carry out their duty without any pressure.
Pilot said he was the one asking Gehlot to probe charges of ”corruption” during Raje’s tenure as the Rajasthan chief minister.
He pointed at the ”contradiction” in what Gehlot is claiming — that the BJP had conspired to topple his government and at the same time Raje helped save it.
Upping the ante , Mounting pressure on Gehlot and the party’s central leadership in the run-up to the assembly polls, Pilot also announced a “Jan Sangharsh Yatra” over “corruption” and the recent cases of leaking of papers for state government recruitment exams.
The 125-km ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’ will begin from Ajmer, where the state’s Public Service Commission (RPSC) is located, on May 11 and end five days later in Jaipur.
Pilot held a one-day fast last month in Jaipur over “inaction” by own party’s government on alleged corruption during the previous BJP tenure in the state.
In the continuing tussle between the two leaders, Gehlot had on Sunday recalled the rebellion against him by Pilot and 18 other Congress MLAs in 2020.
The CM said he survived because BJP leaders Vasundhara Raje and Kailash Meghwal refused to support a conspiracy to topple an elected government through money power.
Pilot rejected the charge that the dissidents – whom he had led — took any money from the BJP.