NEW DELHI: On a day he and his supporters were slapped with a disqualification notice by the Rajasthan Speaker, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said on Wednesday that he was not joining BJP and the rumours were spread by his rivals to tarnish his image.
In comments to the media, Pilot said, “I am not joining BJP. I would like to make it clear that I have no plan to join BJP. The BJP link is an attempt to malign me in the eyes of the Gandhis.” Pilot added that he had also not made any comment against the party.
The reference to the Gandhis was intriguing as it seemed to suggest to some that Pilot was keeping a passage open, despite having rejected the conversations Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had with him as inadequate as also the decision to remove him from the post of deputy CM and state party chief. As speculation rose, some Congress leaders felt a rapprochement was not impossible if Pilot’s desire to lead the government was discussed, even if not conceded. Others felt it might be too late and CM Ashok Gehlot upped the ante on Wednesday evening by claiming that Pilot’s attempts to garner numbers had fallen short.
Earlier in the day, Pilot was at pains to stress that “I am still a member of the Congress” and that he only had genuine grievances against Gehlot. The comment though was also seen as intended to offer no room for being charged with “anti-party” activities under the anti-defection law.
Three days after he revolted and logged in to a Manesar hotel with his supporting MLAs, Pilot’s invoking of the Gandhi family appeared interesting as Congress has been publicly berating him for betrayal. Pilot said he would decide his future course of action after discussing the issue with his aides. He added he would not compromise with his self-respect.
The rebel group was issued a disqualification notice by the Speaker on a complaint by Congress. The contingent skipped two legislature party meetings on successive days, inviting the wrath of the leadership.
In what he suggested was the provocation for his revolt, Pilot said he felt humiliated after he was asked to depose by the Special Operations Group probing horse-trading. He claimed Gehlot and “his friends in the AICC” ganged up against him after Rahul stepped down as Congress president following the in 2019 Lok Sabha defeat. He said he was not allowed to work freely in the state government.


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