"Strongest Warrior Sent To Border": Sachin Pilot, No Longer In Front Row

Sachin Pilot's seating in the Rajasthan assembly caused much talk. Mr Pilot, who was sacked as Deputy Chief Minister, was seated far from Mr Gehlot.

Rajasthan Political Crisis: "Why I am on the border as far as seating is concerned?" Sachin Pilot said.

Jaipur:

A day after his "reunion" with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot's seating in the Rajasthan assembly provoked jeers from the opposition BJP. Mr Pilot, who was Deputy Chief Minister and sat next to Mr Gehlot when he last attended the assembly, is now seated across the floor, near the opposition benches.

"When I came to the house and found that my seat had been changed, I was wondering why. When I sat there (pointing to the government benches), I felt safe. Now I am next to the opposition. Then I realized that I have been sent to the sarhad (border). That is because only the bravest and strongest warrior is sent to the border," quipped Mr Pilot. The message seemed to be as much for the BJP as for his own party leaders.

Mr Pilot's remarks were in response to relentless BJP digs during the debate ahead of the trust vote called by the Congress government. 

The 42-year-old Congress leader dropped his month-long revolt against the Chief Minister earlier this week after a truce with the leadership.

It had been all smiles and handshakes when Mr Gehlot and Mr Pilot met yesterday for the first time since his revolt. The Chief Minister had, in a blistering, unfiltered attack on Mr Pilot over the last few weeks, had even called him "nikamma, naakara (useless)". He also sacked Mr Pilot as his deputy.

On camera yesterday, they appeared to put the bitterness behind them as they sat together at a meeting of Congress MLAs to plan for today's session and trust vote. Mr Gehlot made it a point at the meeting to let the rebels know that he would have won even without their support.

It seems the Chief Minister was not quite done. 

This morning, Mr Pilot found that he had lost his prime spot and was now in the second row on the extreme left of the house, directly opposite his earlier seat.

"During this debate, many things will be said, much will be revealed. But whatever we had to say or do, me and my friends, we have received our cure. We consulted a doctor in Delhi and we are back now. We all stand united". His reference was to a meeting on Monday with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in which he agreed to a patch-up after being assured that a party panel would look into his grievances against the Chief Minister.

He added that he was ready to face the "fire" at the frontline. "We are ready and armed for the onslaught with our armour, our shield and our weapons," he said to loud desk-thumping.

At one point, he also snubbed the BJP's Gulab Chand Kataria, the Leader of Opposition, who said while targeting the Gehlot government that Mr Pilot "was pushed out of the party even though he did such good work on MNREGA". Mr Pilot interrupted: "What is our internal matter, leave that to us. Whether there is any hurt or not, leave that to us. You focus on the trust vote."