Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion has pushed the Congress government in Rajasthan to the brink, said today that he is not joining the BJP and is still a Congress man. "I am not joining the BJP. I would like to make it clear that I have no plans to join the BJP. Attempts to link me to the BJP are to malign me in the eyes of the Congress high-command," Sachin Pilot told NDTV, pointing out that he had worked hard to defeat the BJP.
Sachin Pilot has cancelled a press conference he was to address today. This morning, the Congress initiated moves to disqualify Sachin Pilot and other dissident Rajasthan MLAs for anti-party activities. Nineteen rebels have been issued notice by the assembly Speaker.
Here are the live updates on political developments in Rajasthan:
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's allegations about horse-trading and a Rs 20-crore deal with the BJP have raised hackles in the Sachin Pilot camp. A former minister and another leader have stepped forward to refresh Mr Gehlot's memory about the time MLAs from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party joined the Congress. "Today they say that there is talk of crores of "len-den" (give and take). I want to ask the Chief Minister -- how much money was paid to us when I joined the Congress? Tell the truth," said former minister Ramesh Meena, who was one of the leaders who made the switch. Read here
Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday said that no talk has been held between Sachin Pilot and the BJP, comments that came after rebel Congress leader noted that he would not be joining the party, reported PTI.
"I had said it is a matter of happiness if anybody with a mass base joins our ideological platform. Our state (Rajasthan) president and any other senior leader would have spoken with similar intentions. But this should not be interpreted to suggest that we are welcoming somebody with open arms or waiting for him eagerly by rolling out a carpet," he said.
The senior BJP leader from Rajasthan also denied that his party leaders have held talks with Sachin Pilot and noted that the Congress leader has himself said that he was not in touch with anybody.
Newly appointed Rajasthan Congress President Govind Singh Dotasara on Wednesday accused BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of indulging in petty politics after his party failed to "fulfil its intentions" in the state, reported PTI. Mr Dotasara, who is also the state education minister, said this while responding to the Union minister's remarks that the Congress insulted people of Rajasthan by appointing him its state party chief after the removal of rebel leader Sachin Pilot.
The Congress has accused the BJP of indulging in horse-trading to topple its government in the state. Mr Shekhawat made the comments in an apparent reference to a controversy over changes in the school syllabus in the state.
Amid the ongoing turmoil in Rajasthan, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid on Wednesday took a veiled jibe at former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, stating that "trust and allegiance cannot be confidential, it is there or it is not", reported ANI.
While Sachin Pilot has been sacked as Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee chief by the party, Jyotiraditya Scindia had left the Congress to join the BJP.
Salman Khurshid said that many colleagues of his party have become leaders due to the "generous support" of the top leadership.
"Interesting that many of our colleagues have become 'leaders' because of the generous support of top leadership and demand more support because of being 'leaders'. Trust and allegiance cannot be conditional. It is there or it is not," Mr Khurshid's tweet read.
"Family disputes should be easy to mend but are sometimes worse for being in the family. Respect and affection is legitimate expectation but demanding constant physical proof undermines the basis of relationship. Have to be human first and trader later," he added in a subsequent tweet.
Sachin Pilot is Ashok Gehlot's Walkie-Talkie doll. A desi, Made-in-India doll. He is not blond but speaks "good English" and is "handsome". Khallas! He is done for.
A resort in Haryana's Manesar near Delhi is claiming to be a "quarantine centre" for coronavirus after Rajasthan's rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot shifted there with MLAs supporting him. Its overnight transformation drew attention as the Congress today challenged Sachin Pilot to "come out of the security cover" of the BJP government in Haryana and return to Jaipur. Read here
The Congress has sought the disqualification of Sachin Pilot and 18 other dissident MLAs from the state assembly even as it repeated that the party has not closed its doors on him, reported PTI.. Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi confirmed that disqualification notices have been sent out Tuesday on the basis of the complaint made by the party. The dissidents have to reply by Friday. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also talked tough, accusing the former deputy chief minister of being directly involved in the alleged horse-trading with the opposition BJP to bring down his government. He did not refer to Pilot by name but spoke about the "deputy chief minister" and the "PCC president", both posts held by the leader before he was stripped off of them on Tuesday as he tussled with the more senior Rajasthan leader for power. But, amid this tough posturing, the Congress said the dissident MLAs can still return to the Congress fold.
"The former PCC chief was involved in dealings with BJP. I have proof of horse-trading," Ashok Gehlot told reporters in Jaipur. "We have the proof that horse trading was being committed. Money was offered. And who gave the clarification that nothing was happening? Those who were themselves part of the conspiracy are giving clarifications," Mr Gehlot was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. Read here
"Private hotels are open for everyone, anyone can stay there. The Haryana government has no role in it," Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar said on being asked about Rajasthan Congress MLAs staying at a hotel in Manesar, reported ANI.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today said "speaking good English and being handsome isn't everything" as it appeared that a massive threat to his government from Sachin Pilot has been stymied. Mr Gehlot, claiming enough support to stay in power, took multiple swipes at his former deputy and main rival.
The Congress today sent out a strong message to rebel Sachin Pilot, asking him to "return to the family" and stop accepting BJP hospitality in Haryana. Hours after Sachin Pilot asserted that speculation about him joining the BJP were an attempt to "malign him before the Gandhis", the Congress said: "If you don't want to go to the BJP, immediately turn down the hospitality of the BJP government in Haryana, free Congress MLAs from the BJP police trap."
"We've seen Sachin Pilot's statement that he won't join BJP. I'd like to tell him that if you don't want that, then immediately come out of the security cover of BJP's Haryana govt, stop all conversations with them & come back to your home in Jaipur," Randeep Surjewala said while briefing the media
I have been in politics for 40 years, we love the new generation, the future will be theirs. This new generation, they have become central ministers, state presidents if they had gone through what we did in our time, they would have understood: Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan CM pic.twitter.com/2QpXs8rexM- ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2020
Rajasthan: Congress party puts notice at MLA Hemaram Choudhary's residence in Gudamalani, Barmer, for not attending the recent Congress Legislative Party meetings. He has to respond to the notice within 2 days. pic.twitter.com/iDw5BZAeeL- ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2020
Notice issued to Sachin Pilot&18 other party members, for not attending Congress Legislative Party meetings. If they don't respond within 2 days, then it will be considered that they are withdrawing their membership from CLP: Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande. (File pic) pic.twitter.com/TJ8ShxasgX- ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2020
My loyalty is to the Congress ideology. My fidelity is not to any individual or family.- Sanjay Jha (@JhaSanjay) July 15, 2020
I remain a Gandhi-Nehruvian idealist ( a vanishing breed within Congress). I will continue to raise issues that are fundamental to the resurgence of my party.
The battle has just begun.