JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday hit out strongly against his former deputy Sachin Pilot. An unusually angry and aggressive Gehlot took a dig at Pilot and caustically commented, “Speaking good English and being handsome isn’t everything. What is in your heart for the country, your ideology, policies, and commitment, everything is important.”
With the serious threat to his government from Sachin Pilot seemingly neutralized for now, Gehlot claimed he had enough support to stay in power. Despite that relief, Gehlot was unsparing in his attack on his arch-rival and former deputy CM. Though Pilot claimed that he was not going to the BJP and remained a Congressman, Gehlot reiterated the charge that Pilot was in league with the BJP’s attempt of horse-trading to topple his government in the recent Rajya Sabha polls.
Claiming that he had evidence of this collusion between the BJP and the Pilot camp, Gehlot remarked, "Horse trading was being done in Jaipur, we have the proof. We had to keep people at a hotel for 10 days, Had we not done that, the same thing that is happening in Manesar now would have happened back then." Gehlot clearly hinted that the rebel MLAs with Pilot were being offered inducements by the BJP.
Even as he claimed that he has the support of 106 MLAs, enough to retain power in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly, Gehlot even targeted "the new generation" in the Congress without taking any names.
The CM remarked that ‘the new generation’ had not gone through what he had in his long years in politics. "I have been in politics for 40 years, we love the new generation, the future will be theirs. This new generation, they have become central ministers, state presidents if they had gone through what we did in our time, they would have realised," said Gehlot.
An aggressive CM is unwilling to accept the Pilot version that he had nothing to do with the BJP. Over the past few weeks, the Chief Minister has repeatedly alleged attempts to buy Congress MLAs for a BJP coup in Rajasthan. After scoring a victory after months of fire-fighting, Gehlot seems in no mood to spare Pilot who was on Tuesday sacked as his deputy and PCC Chief.
In another significant development, political circles in Jaipur are buzzing that CM Gehlot will soon reshuffle and expand his ministry which might have two new Deputy CMs and 7 new faces as ministers and 10 to 15 Parliamentary Secretaries. No Pilot loyalist is likely to figure among the new entrants.