NEW DELHI: With the Bharat Jodo Yatra entering Rajasthan in the first week of December, the Congress has turned into a damage control mode by deputing AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal to douse the rebellion between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot.
According to sources, Venugopal will be traveling to the desert state on November 29 to hold meetings with the members of the committees formed for the Rajasthan leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra, in which both Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot will also be present. Venugopal will also be reviewing the preparations and arrangements for the Yatra.
Sources said that the party leadership realized that it will be too late if it doesn’t intervene in the leadership issue before the yatra enters the state. The leadership has been dragging its feet on the long-standing tussle between both leaders. The party is hoping that Venugopal, the most trusted aide of the Gandhis will be able to buy a temporary truce between the two.
In September, Venugopal had said that the resolution of the leadership question in Rajasthan will come out in 2 to 3 days,” after the unrest erupted in the party after Gehlot refused to resign from the CM post to contest for the Congress President post.
Gehlot, in a recent TV interview had repeatedly called Pilot a traitor and levelled allegations that he colluded with the BJP to topple the government. In response, Pilot called the CM insecure and asked him to work together to bring unity in the party. “Pilot cannot be made CM, nobody will accept him. I will not accept him,” Gehlot said. After Geohot’s outburst, Congress senior leader Jairam Ramesh called for resolving differences between the two.
“Ashok Gehlot is a senior and experienced political leader. Whatever differences he has expressed with his younger colleague Shri Sachin Pilot will be resolved in a manner that strengthens the Congress Party,” he said in a statement. One senior leader told this newspaper that the party cannot afford to lose the state, which is heading for Assembly elections next year.