JAIPUR/NEW DELHI: In his first official communication with the party in over a fortnight, rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot has written to Mahesh Joshi, the party chief whip in Rajasthan Assembly, reiterating that he continues to be part of the Congress and explaining the reasons for him and 18 other MLAs skipping two legislature party meetings. In turn, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot softened his stand, saying he was ready to embrace the rebels if they apologize to the Congress high command and it forgives them.
“It depends on the party high command. If the party high command forgives, I shall embrace them,” he said. Gehlot took aims at the BJP. “We have no personal quarrel with anyone. In a democracy, fights happen over ideology, policies and programmes and not for toppling a government. Modi should get the drama ended,” he said in Jaisalmer.
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According to Congress sources, Pilot sent an e-mail sent to Joshi, “which says he could not attend the meeting of MLAs as he was seeking legal remedy for false accusations against him and his colleagues for toppling the Rajasthan government. Moreover, FIRs have been registered against them and legal notices were served”.
The Congress is moving cautiously as it feels Pilot’s move is aimed at strengthening his case legally. “It is a well-prepared legal document to prove that it is a kind of dissent in the party, for he and his colleagues wanted a leadership change and not to be seen as a defection,” said a source. The change in Gehlot’s tone indicates that the number game in the assembly is tight. He seems eager to win back rebel MLAs before August 14.