Gehlot takes jibe at Pilot, stresses importance of party unity

Amid a power tussle with his former deputy, Rajasthan CM says no one should do anything that can cause damage to the party

NEW DELHI | Updated: 21 April, 2023 9:49 pm IST
Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, took an apparent jibe at his former deputy Sachin Pilot, with whom he is locked in a power tussle that had threatened Congress in Rajasthan.

Responding to a question regarding Pilot, CM Gehlot said, “All party workers should focus on how to win the next election and how they can contribute. They should never do anything that can cause damage to the party.”

CM Gehlot’s remarks came after he arrived in the national capital. He is scheduled to meet some senior leaders of the party, including general secretary (organisations) KC Venugopal.

The remarks of the Rajasthan Congress leader come at a time when party state in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, too, arrived in Delhi from Jaipur.

Randhawa met the party MLAs in Jaipur days after Pilot sat in protest, demanding action against the corruption in the then Vasundhara Raje government.

The one-day-long hunger strike by Pilot had troubled the party as a desert storm once again loomed over the state, as both leaders had openly spoken against each other.

The remark by Gehlot also came a day after Pilot’s name was conspicuously missing from the party’s list of star campaigners for the Karnataka assembly polls. Incidentally, Gehlot’s name was included in the list.

Pilot, however, was named as one of the party’s star campaigners for the bye-election in Punjab’s Jalandhar. Former Punjab state unit chief and cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu’s name also figured on the list.

Gehlot and Pilot have been locked in a leadership tussle for a long time. They haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye on a range of issues.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Surat Session Court’s dismissal of Rahul Gandhi’s plea for a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark, Gehlot said, “After the success of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, they (the BJP) decided what they had to do next. And the reopening of the Modi surname case after four years indicates a conspiracy.”

A Surat Session Court on Thursday dismissed Rahul Gandhi’s appeal for conviction in the case. The party dubbed the court judgement erroneous and said that it would approach the higher courts.

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