From Rahul Gandhi’s office declaring on Monday thatSachin Pilotis “always in his heart”, to multiple requests by the party for him to come back and resolve issues, the42-year-old leaderwas dropped as Rajasthan deputy chief minister fromAshok Gehlotcabinet on Tuesday. All within 24 hours.
Hindustan Times spoke to several key Congress leaders to piece together the events that led to Pilot’s exit also as the Rajasthan Congress unit president.
According to a senior leader privy to the decision making process, Pilot placed three conditions before the party leadership that they simply couldn’t fulfil.
The first being that Congress should declare a year before the next state polls, to be held in 2022, that Pilot would be the chief ministerial face.
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“He wanted a public commitment right away that in the last year, he would be declared the Congress face for the CM post. He wanted us to announce it to all,’’ said a Congress leader on condition of anonymity.
The second demand was that all those who had rebelled with Pilot, for instance tourism minister Vishwendra Singh and all other legislators would be accommodated. This didn’t mean that they would all be ministers, but “they should all be rewarded. For instance, made heads of corporations or any other bodies”.
The third and final demand put across to the Congress’s mediators was that Avinash Pande, general secretary and Rajasthan Congress in-charge, should also be removed from his post. Pilot believes that Pandey tilts towards chief minister Ashok Gehlot and so felt that the situation could only be normalised if another person was brought in his place.
“We really tried to bring him around but we couldn’t accept his conditions as this was blackmail. What if other states started using the same ruse?’’ said the senior leader.
While Pilot is yet to comment, a person part of his team told HT, “But the Congress is not in power in other states. So why do they have this fear?’’
Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s brief to the mediators was simple – try to keep him back in the party.
When asked about Rahul Gandhi’s efforts to re