Days after the Congress High Command’s intervention led to Sachin Pilot’s homecoming, which implied an end to the crisis over the Ashok Gehlot-led government, Pilot’s difficulties don’t seem to be ending.
With the pro-Gehlot Congress MLAs opposing the return of the rebel Pilot camp at a meeting on Tuesday night in Jaisalmer, even CM Gehlot has claimed that loyal Congress MLAs were only "naturally upset" at the truce and the tough time the party had to face over the past month due to the rebel Pilot camp.
Talking to media persons while boarding a flight for Jodhpur from Jaisalmer on Wednesday, CM Gehlot said, “it's natural for MLAs to be upset. The manner in which this episode happened and the way in which they were forced to stay in hotels for a month, it was natural.”
The Chief Minister further added “I have told them that sometimes we need to be tolerant if we have to serve the nation, state, people and save democracy.”
CM Gehlot has reportedly advised everyone to move on. "Forget and forgive, and move on," the Chief Minister remarked.
The CM added that the grievances of the all MLAs will be addressed and the matter will be resolved.
He further remarked, “we will work together. Our friends who had gone away have now come back. I hope that we will do away with all our differences and fulfill our resolve to serve the state.”
According to sources, at the legislative party meeting in Jaisalmer on Tuesday night, the pro-Gehlot MLAs had expressed displeasure with the high command's generosity towards Sachin Pilot and his loyal MLAs.
Some MLAs expressed reservations at the truce worked out between Pilot and Priyanka Gandhi.
Sources say over a dozen MLAs spoke against Sachin Pilot at the legislature party meeting and many said that even if Pilot and his group are not punished, they should not be rewarded.
Many MLAs clearly demanded that the rebel MLAs should not be accommodated either in the Gehlot ministry or on major positions in the party organisation.
Besides slogans in favour of Ashok Gehlot, many prominent MLAs like minister Parsadi Lal Meena, Ashok Chandana, Saleh Mohammed, Rajendra Pareek remarked about how the rebel pilot camp had caused lots of embarrassment to the party over the past month.
There was a lot of noise and commotion in the meeting and eventually central leaders like Avinash Pandey, Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala had to pacify the MLAs in the name of party unity.
The exact formula worked out between Pilot and Priyanka Gandhi is still not clear and is likely to become publically known once the expected Cabinet reshuffle and in the party organisation is finalized.
During their revolt, Sachin Pilot lost his two posts. While ministers Vishwendra Singh and Ramesh Meena were dropped from the Gehlot cabinet, some Pilot loyalists lost their positions in the state Congress unit.
The buzz is that the same faces will not be re-inducted but some other Pilot loyalists may be accommodated in the Gehlot ministry and in the PCC.
Meanwhile, the pro-Gehlot MLAs returned to Jaipur from Jaisalmer on Wednesday afternoon.
They will continue to stay at Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur where they had stayed for over a fortnight before they were shifted to Jaisalmer.
The herding of MLAs is likely to continue till the Assembly session begins on August 14.
However, MLAs of the Pilot camp have reportedly not been asked to come to the Fairmont Hotel. But an MLA of the Pilot group, G L Khatana remarked, "the High Command has assured us that there will be no discrimination towards us.
If there is any CLP meeting and the party's Chief Whip asks us to come, we will defintely attend the meeting."