Congress MLA from Rajasthan’s Baseri Assembky constituency, Khiladi Lal Bairwa, on Friday spoke out against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over his remark against his former deputy-turned-foe Sachin Pilot, saying his statement had hurt the sentiments of fellow Congressmen.
In an interview, the Rajasthan CM had called Pilot a ‘traitor’, adding that he can never become chief minister.
Pilot, a former Union minister, later hit back at Gehlot saying that all Congess members should come together and make Rahul Gandhi’s ongoing ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ a success, instead of resorting to unfounded allegations.
Speaking to ANI on Friday, Bairwa said, “Gehlot ji’s statement has hurt the sentiments of Congressmen. Our high-command gives us the positions that we hold. Such remarks are not befitting of a chief minister.”
Gehlot, who was initially seen as the frontrunner in the race for the Congress president, withdrew from the contest after refusing to give up chief ministership of Rajasthan.
The same was seen as a departure from the high-command’s line of ‘one person, one post’ and defiance to the top leadership’s efforts to instal Pilot as the next CM.
Invoking the sequence of events leading up to the polls to elect the Congress president, Bairwa added, “Sachin Pilot has never challenged the high-command. Everyone needs to work together.”
Octogenarian Dalit leader Mallikarjun Kharge was eventually elected as the Congress national president after trouncing his challenger and fellow MP Shashi Tharoor in the polls.
Also responding to Gehlot’s remark, state minister Rajendra Singh Gudha claimed 80 per cent of the MLAs were with Sachin Pilot and “there was no better politician than him”.
The state minister also demanded a meeting of Congress MLAs to prove his claim.
CM Gehlot and Pilot have had several run-ins since an rebellion by the latter, with support of his loyalist MLAs, was thwarted.
The Rajasthan CM had previously gone on record to lebel his former deputy as ‘nikamma’ and ‘nakara’ (useless).
Responding to his latest statement, Pilott told ANI, “Ashok Gehlot is a senior and experienced leader and I don’t know who is advising him to level such false, baseless allegations against me. The need of the hour is to strengthen the party instead of resorting to namecalling against one another.”
In a dig at the Rajasthan CM, Pilot further said Congress had suffered heavy defeats in Rajasthan when Gehlot was the party’s state chief.
“The BJP was soundly defeated in Rajasthan when I was the Congress state president. Still, the high-command kept faith in Gehlot ji and gave him another chance to be CM. The priority, now, should be to put up a united front and do whatever we can to help the Congress win the next Assembly elections in Rajasthan,” Pilot said.
Congress general secretary in-charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh, also condemned CM Gehlot’s remark, saying all the differences should be resolved in a manner which strengthens the Congress.
“Ashok Gehlot is a senior and experienced political leader. Whatever differences he has expressed with his young Rer colleague Sachin Pilot should be resolved in a manner that strengthens the Congress,” Ramesh said.
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.