Those Who Betray Also Remain In Congress: Ashok Gehlot's Dig At Sachin Pilot

Ashok Gehlot's remarks came when reporters asked him whether the Congress leaders who left the party to join the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections should be taken back.

Those Who Betray Also Remain In Congress: Ashok Gehlot's Dig At Sachin Pilot

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Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Monday called leaders who left the party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections "nakara" and "nikamma", adding that some such people are still within the ranks of the organisation.

The former Rajasthan chief minister did not take names but his remarks recalled the row when he used the terms - meaning "worthless" - to describe Sachin Pilot, who had rebelled against his leadership but remains within the organisation.

Mr Gehlot and former deputy chief minister papered over their differences ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

The former chief minister's remarks came when reporters asked him whether the Congress leaders who left the party to join the BJP ahead of the elections should be taken back.

Noting that even traitors and backstabbers linger within the Congress ranks, Mr Gehlot asked the young party members to become assets rather than liabilities.

He hit out at the party leaders who switched to the BJP by leaving the Congress ahead of the elections. He referred to them as "opportunists", "worthless" and "traitors".

He said those who left the party and joined the BJP are "opportunists" and "non-performing assets".

"This is opportunism. Whether you say 'nikamma', 'nakara' or 'gaddar', all these words are brothers and sisters. These are used for such people. The one who betrays is a traitor," he told reporters at the PCC office here.

He said it was the time to work for the Congress at the time of crisis but after being in rule for five years, they left the party.

It may be noted that several senior leaders of the party, including three former ministers Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya, Lal Chand Kataria, and Rajendra Yadav, joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Before this, Mr Gehlot had used these words for party leader Sachin Pilot during the political crisis in 2020 when he was the chief minister and Mr Pilot was his deputy.

Mr Gehlot said when the Congress was in crisis during Indira Gandhi's time and the party had suffered a humiliating defeat, he and other leaders worked for the party. All such leaders ruled for 40-42 years in different capacities like central minister, AICC general secretary, PCC chief, and chief minister.

"This is the specialty of the Congress and the Gandhi family that the one who helps in times of crisis need not ask for anything," he said.

Without naming anyone, he said, "Those who betray and stab in the back also remain in the party. I would like to tell those people also that tomorrow is yours." He asked them to behave in such a way that in the coming 15-20 years, they become assets and not a liability for Congress.

Mr Gehlot said he wants every worker and leader of the party to succeed. "I want every worker leader to be successful. If he is successful, the Congress will become stronger. You should do such work which builds your image, goodwill among the party, society and public," he said.

Mr Gehlot also said he never tried to defeat the party's candidate. "If any candidate contesting on the party ticket wins, it will go to the account of national president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, and the Congress party," he said.

Asked about Rajasthan Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Avinash Gehlot's statement that the reservation given to 14 Muslim castes in the OBC category in the state will be reviewed, he said the reservation to backward Muslim castes was given based on the OBC commission's recommendations.

The minister said a couple of days ago that the Congress gave OBC reservation to Muslim castes from 1997 to 2013 as part of appeasement politics and it will be reviewed.

Targeting the Bhajanlal Sharma government in the state, he said it is being run by remote control from Delhi.

"The chief minister needs good advisers. If he is run by remote control from Delhi, he will not be able to run for long. If it does not do well, he will be removed," he said.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his language in the election campaign, he said no one can think that the PM can use such language. The whole world is watching elections taking place in India, he said.

"The PM has stated about 'mangalsutra', 'property', 'buffalo' and 'mujra' in the election campaign. The post of prime minister belongs to the country. But the kind of speech he is giving will also become a major reason for their (BJP's) defeat," he said.

Mr Gehlot also said the Congress party will perform well in Rajasthan and it will not be a surprise if the INDIA block forms the government at the Centre.

"This time in the elections, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge have surrounded the BJP in such a way that the BJP leaders are not able to come out," he added. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)