Top Congress leadership still wants to keep ‘doors open’ for Sachin Pilot: Sources

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Top Congress leadership still wants to keep ‘doors open’ for Sachin Pilot: Sources


NEW DELHI: Even as a section of leaders within the Congress feels that

Sachin Pilot

has “gone too far”, especially after he took the party to court over the disqualification issue, sources on Thursday said the top party leadership is still keeping the “doors open” for the rebel leader, and has also asked Rajasthan chief minister

Ashok Gehlot

not to make critical comments against his former deputy.

Sources also claimed that Pilot has spoken to a senior party leader from south India on Thursday laying conditions for his return.

While there was no confirmation from the Pilot camp on this conversation, sources said Pilot was told unequivocally that the Congress party’s “doors are still open” for him, but he would have to return unconditionally.

He was also reportedly told that he would first have to come out of the “BJP camp and not hobnob” with them.

According to sources, Pilot was also told that the Congress party is ready to forget this chapter, and that he will be accorded equal respect on his return.

Sources said party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, who is part of a team sent by the Congress leadership to Jaipur to handle the crisis, held a closed-door meeting with Gehlot and urged him not to make any public statement against his former deputy, as the party leaders still want Pilot to return.

Live updates: Rajasthan political crisisThis was done at the instance of former Congress party presidentRahul Gandhi, who is keen to retain Pilot, whom he considers as part of his young brigade, said a source, who did not wish to be named.

Gehlot’s public outburst against Pilot came on Wednesday, when he accused him of indulging in horse trading of MLAs and conspiring to topple his government, as part of BJP’s plan.

Sources added that Gehlot has stated that he is not against Pilot, but he would have to “leave BJP’s hospitality” first and return unconditionally.

After Pilot on Wednesday declared that he is not joining the BJP, the party asked the rebel leader to stop fraternizing with the BJP and give up the hospitality of a BJP-ruled state.

“We want to tell Pilot that if you don’t want to go to the BJP then don’t accept Haryana’s hospitality. If you don’t want to go to the BJP, stop talking to any BJP leader or member,” Surjewala said, while asking the rebel leader to return to the party fold

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