Pilot's phone was 'tracked and monitored' during 2020 political crisis, claims Gehlot's OSD

Ashok Gehlot's OSD Lokesh Sharma claimed that the monitoring was happening from before Sachin Pilot's rebellion as there was some idea that such a thing could happen.
An illustrative collage of Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot (L) and Sachin Pilot. (Express Illustrations)
An illustrative collage of Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot (L) and Sachin Pilot. (Express Illustrations)

NEW DELHI: Outgoing Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's OSD Lokesh Sharma on Tuesday alleged that the then deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot's movements and phone were tracked and monitored by the Gehlot government in the run-up to and during the rebellion Pilot had staged in 2020. There was no immediate reaction from Congress leaders Gehlot and Pilot or their aides on the allegations.

Sharma, who was denied a ticket to contest the Rajasthan assembly polls and has been criticising Gehlot for the party's defeat in the elections, also said if the incidents of September last year, when a legislature party meeting was not allowed to take place by Gehlot loyalists, had not happened and the Congress observers had carried out the agenda for which they had come, the picture in Rajasthan would have been different.

The Congress leadership wanted to effect a leadership change and bring in Pilot as the chief minister. He said the differences between Gehlot and Pilot "harmed" the party's prospects.

"When the political crisis of 2020 had come and Pilot ji had left with his 18 MLAs, then in such a situation, the government does put its machinery in to use and everyone is monitored, where do these people go, who do they meet and who do they speak with. So that is done and in that manner, their monitoring was also done," Sharma alleged.

He claimed that the monitoring was happening from before the rebellion as there was some idea that such a thing could happen.

Asked about the details of the monitoring, Sharma told PTI, "I said monitoring was being done continuously which includes all these things -- movement, who are they speaking with, those things were being tracked and monitored."

Sharma claimed that elections could have been fought better and the main reason for defeat was that ticket distribution was not done properly.

"There was no anti-incumbency against the government but people did not want to see many of the MLAs return as their representatives. Such reports were communicated to the chief minister. These were not just my reports but the AICC survey, and other reports were that sitting MLAs' tickets should be cut but it was not done," Sharma claimed.

Asked why action had not been taken on the reports, he said, "You can say it was his (Gehlot's) stubbornness. He probably felt it was his moral duty towards those who had helped him save his government."

Sharma denied that he was making such allegations as he was denied a ticket. He said it is up to the party to decide on his ticket which he was demanding as a party worker. "I am saying so now as I want corrective measures to be taken as Lok Sabha polls are around the corner and it is important to set things right," he said.

On the day the Congress lost in Rajasthan, Sharma had blamed Gehlot for the defeat in the assembly polls and said that his experience, magic and schemes could not bring the Congress back to power in the state.

On Monday, replying to a question on an earlier statement of Sharma, Pilot had said, "I have seen the statement. It is strange. Because he was OSD to the chief minister, that's why it is a matter of concern. I believe the party will look into why he said so. And how much truth it holds."

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