This Article is From Aug 11, 2020

"Was Offended And Hurt By Name-Calling," Sachin Pilot Tells NDTV

Sachin Pilot, 42, dropped his rebellion after meeting with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra yesterday.

Sachin Pilot returned to Jaipur today after ending his rebellion

New Delhi:

Congress's Sachin Pilot, back in Rajasthan after ending his month-long revolt against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, said on Tuesday that he had "no hard feelings" and was no longer part of the state government but he expected the "head of the family" to resolve disputes and take everyone along.

"I have not asked for any post. I have only said there should be no vendetta politics against the MLAs who are returning to the fold," Sachin Pilot said on the 18 rebels who had joined him in his rebellion.

Mr Pilot, 42, who revolted against the Chief Minister after being summoned in allegations of bribing Congress MLAs to defect, dropped his rebellion after meeting with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra yesterday. All he apparently got from the leadership was an assurance that the grievances of the rebels would be heard by a three-member committee that includes Priyanka Gandhi.

Mr Pilot may not get back the two posts that Mr Gehlot had sacked him from - Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress chief. Sources say he may be accommodated in the central Congress, that too after a cooling off period, even though he may well continue his politics in Rajasthan, where he remains an MLA. The other rebels may be given cabinet posts in the next reshuffle.

Speaking to NDTV, Mr Pilot did not deny that he had felt marginalised in the government in which he was number 2 since December 2018.

"You don't want a position just for a house and a car. You need space, respect and dignity to do work, that was lacking and I flagged it to the party leadership. You may not like someone or get along with somebody. But there has to be collective participation which was not happening," he said.

Asked about the Chief Minister's claim that the two had not spoken for 18 months, Mr Pilot said: "He said a lot of things and I don't want to counter them. But it gives you an idea of how the ecosystem was working."

He also admitted that he was offended and hurt by the Chief Minister's attacks, including the "nikamma, naakara (useless)" jibe, and felt that "unparliamentary and inappropriate" terms were used.

"Not to say that I was not offended, I am human. I did feel hurt and disappointed, but we have larger mission and name-calling should not be a deterrent," Mr Pilot told NDTV.

It is not clear how the truce in Delhi will work out in Jaipur. Mr Pilot returned to Jaipur to a cold reception from his former boss. Mr Gehlot flew to Jaisalmer in the morning and decided to spend the night there, avoiding any contact with his sacked deputy.

Mr Pilot made it clear that he considered Rajasthan his "karmabhoomi" and reminded that the next election is three years away.

"As leader of the government, the head of the family is Ashok Gehlot and it is his responsibility to hear everyone, sort out their grievances and take everyone along."

Asked whether he had complained to the Gandhis, Mr Pilot said: "I have a clear view on the Rajasthan leadership. I made a point and it is better to keep it between me and the party leadership. I stand vindicated for what I said 30 days ago and now."

The Congress leader emphatically denied allegations, mostly from Mr Gehlot, that he had the active support of the BJP but his rebellion fizzled out because he could not reel in enough MLAs to pull down the government. "Why would I pull down a government I worked hard for?"

That Team Pilot was represented in court by top lawyers perceived to be close to the BJP government was held up as Exhibit "A" by Mr Gehlot.

Mr Pilot, denying that the BJP had any role, said he and the other rebels had pooled in resources to pay Mukul Rohatgi and Harish Salve. "I asked my good friend Abhishek Singhvi, he refused. Then I called up Harish Salve myself, he is an old friend," he said.