JAIPUR/NEW DELHI: As the Pilot-Gehlot battle in Rajasthan reached the court, the growing feeling within the Congress was that the former deputy chief minister has gone too far, to the point of no return. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday gave enough hints, going much beyond his repeated charge that Pilot wanted to topple his government. He said his former No. 2 was not even on talking terms with him ever since the party recaptured Rajasthan in the 2018 assembly polls.
Pilot has repeatedly trashed the charges, asserting that Gehlot was tarnishing his image. “Pilot was conspiring to bring down our government from the very beginning. He never talked to me. In a democratic set-up, dialogue is essential. Here was a Cabinet minister who did not make any effort to speak to his Chief Minister,’’ said Gehlot.
In his media interaction, the CM said Pilot had been keen to join the BJP, but couldn’t as he didn’t have the numbers to bring down the government. ‘‘Sachin is trying to project himself as a big bechara (naive) since the SOG served him a notice over horse-trading. What he won’t say is that the same notice was given to about 10-12 people, including me.
Pilot has been working with BJP to finish the Congress which has given him so much,’’ said Gehlot.
The Congress leadership is now firming up a case for disqualification of rebel MLAs in the Pilot camp. “The Gehlot camp is in no mood to relent after Pilot approached the court challenging the notice issued to him by the Speaker. There has been no indication from the other side also for any compromise,” said a Congress leader.
The party said it has more evidence to show that Pilot’s associates were talking to Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to topple the Gehlot government. “The transcript released today was to prepare the legal ground for anti-party activities by these MLAs. More evidence will be released in the coming days to prove that the BJP was attempting to topple the state government,” a source said.
Cops vs cops at resort with Pilot MLAs
There was high drama at the ITC Grand Bharat hotel near Manesar in Haryana when a team of the Rajasthan Police SOG of the that reached the hotel to meet MLAs loyal to Sachin Pilot was stopped by a strong contingent of the Haryana Police. The team was stopped and made to wait at the gate of the resort. It is alleged that many of the Haryana Police personnel did not have their name badges. The Haryana policemen maintained they no information of any inter-state police operation. It was only after a wait of about one-and-a-half hours that the Rajasthan Police team was allowed to go inside. The team screened the resort and left after some time.