P Chidambaram's Advice To Sachin Pilot In A Phone Call

Besides P Chidambaram, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also reportedly spoke to Mr Pilot on Wednesday evening.

"Sachin Pilot spoke to me during the day yesterday," P Chidambaram confirmed to NDTV.

New Delhi:

Sachin Pilot spoke to senior party leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram on Thursday in a surprising move on a day he and other rebel MLAs took the party to court over disqualification notices served to them.

Several senior leaders have reached out to Sachin Pilot since he launched his revolt on Sunday against his former boss, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

"He spoke to me during the day yesterday," P Chidambaram confirmed to NDTV. "I just reiterated that the leadership had publicly invited him for a meeting and all issues can be discussed. I advised him to seize the opportunity," P Chidambaram said.

The Congress's top leadership, the Gandhis, have reached out to the rebel leader several times over the past few days but Sachin Pilot has been largely unresponsive. This is the first known instance of Mr Pilot dialing any senior Congress leader.

Besides P Chidambaram, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also reportedly spoke to Mr Pilot on Wednesday evening.

Mr Pilot also spoke to Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is on the opposing side of a courtroom battle today between the rebels and the Congress. Mr Pilot and 18 MLAs took the Congress to court yesterday over disqualification notices served to them for "anti-party activities".

Mr Pilot had earlier been removed as Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress chief.  Action taken in Rajasthan has moved on a parallel track with the Congress's reach-out attempts in Delhi.

While a section of Congress leaders said Mr Pilot had "reached a point of no return" by going to court, the party's Randeep Singh Surjewala, sent from Delhi to handle the crisis in Jaipur, again said today that "doors were open for whoever wanted to come back".

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had been asked to dial down his attacks on Mr Pilot, whom he has accused of conspiring with the BJP and "making deals" to buy MLAs for a coup.

Mr Gehlot was to address a press conference today but it was Mr Surjewala who briefed the media on audio tapes allegedly of rebel MLAs plotting against the Congress government.

PTI quoted sources as saying Mr Surjewala held a closed-door meeting with the Chief Minister and urged him not to make any public statement against his former deputy.

Top Congress sources say Rahul Gandhi is keen to retain Mr Pilot, who was a part of his close circle of aides along with Jyotiraditya Scindia, who quit the party in March and switched to the BJP.

Mr Pilot on Wednesday re-emphasised that he is not joining the BJP. While many in the Congress read it as a positive signal, a section suspected he is buying time to win over more MLAs to his camp.

"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," Mr Surjewala said the same day.