HomePoliticsEx-Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot sits on daylong fast demanding action against...

Ex-Rajasthan deputy CM Sachin Pilot sits on daylong fast demanding action against graft

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Disregarding a warning issued to him by the Congress, former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot sat on a daylong fast at the Shaheed Smarak here on Tuesday to demand action in cases of alleged corruption related to the previous BJP government in the state.

With this, Pilot has opened a front against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, with whom he has been at loggerheads ever since the Congress formed the government in the desert state in December 2018.

Pilot was the Rajasthan Congress chief when the party came to power in the state.

Unfazed by the warning of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Rajasthan, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who said any such protest against the state government would amount to anti-party activity and go against the party’s interest, Pilot launched his fast.

He offered floral tributes to social reformer Jyotirao Phule at his portrait and then launched his fast at 11 am. The fast will continue till 4 pm.

A banner put up at the venue of Pilot’s gitation read — “Vasundhara Sarkar Me Hue Bhrastachar ke Viruddh Anshan”. The song “Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye” was also being played in the background.

No incumbent MLA of the ruling party went to the venue of the fast as they were asked by Pilot not to come, but several other leaders and his supporters, including MLA Santosh Saharan and Ramnarayan Gurjar, were present.

Before arriving at the Shaheed Smarak, Pliot went to the 22 Godown Circle from his residence and offered tributes to Phule at his statue.

Pilot announced his decision to sit on a fast at a press conference here on Sunday. He also targeted the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan for not taking action against alleged corruption of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, led by Vasundhara Raje.

Pilot’s agitation amid a factional feud in the Congress is being seen as an attempt to put pressure on the party high-command to resolve the leadership issue in the state ahead of the Assembly polls due by the year-end.

Taking strong objection to the proposed “dharna” by Pilot, Randhawa issued a statement on Monday night, saying the former Union minister’s daylong fast would be against the party’s interests.

“If there is any issue with his own government, it can be discussed at party forums instead of in the media and in public,” Randhawa said.

He said he has been the AICC in-charge of Rajasthan for five months and Pilot never discussed any such issue with him during this period.

“This is clearly anti-party activity. I am in touch with him (Pilot) and I still appeal for dialogue since he is an indisputable asset to the Congress,” Randhawa said.

The tussle between Gehlot and Pilot began during the formation of the government in December 2018 over the chief minister’s post.

The Congress high-command appointed Gehlot to the top post for a third time and Pilot was made his deputy.

In July 2020, Pilot and a section of Congress MLAs rebelled openly against Gehlot, demanding a change of leadership in the state. It led to a month-long political crisis that ended after the party high-command’s assurance to look into the issues raised by Pilot.

Following the revolt by Pilot and 18 other MLAs, Gehlot used terms such as “gaddar” (traitor), “nakara” (failure) and “nikamma” (worthless) for his former deputy and accused him of being involved with BJP leaders in a conspiracy to topple the Congress government in the state.

Pilot has been demanding that the party leadership take action on the issues raised by him.

In September last year, a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting was convened at the chief minister’ residence to pass a one-line resolution authorising the party high-command to take a decision on a change in the state leadership as Gehlot was in the race for the party president’s post.

However, the meeting could not take place because a parallel meeting was convened at the residence of the state parliamentary affairs minister, where many of the Congress MLAs offered their resignation letters addressed to the Assembly speaker against any move of the party high-command to make Pilot the new chief minister.

Right before former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Rajasthan from Madhya Pradesh in November last year, Gehlot again targeted Pilot, calling him a “gaddar” in an interview with a television news channel.

Pilot responded to it, saying it does not befit his upbringing to use such language.


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