- Sachin Pilot has not got an appointment with the Gandhis so far
- He reportedly laid out cards when he last spoke to Gandhi's emissary
- Gandhis conveyed their position through trusted emissary, say sources
Sachin Pilot, who has revolted against the Congress and claims the support of 30 MLAs -- enough to bring down the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan - has not got an appointment with the Gandhis so far.
The 42-year-old Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister has been in Delhi with a group of MLAs loyal to him.
When he last spoke to the Gandhis' emissary nine days ago, he reportedly laid out his cards.
Sources told NDTV that before any meeting with Sachin Pilot, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and MP Rahul Gandhi wanted some points of contention out of the way. The two leaders wanted to underline that the Chief Minister's post is not up for negotiation for now.
The Gandhis conveyed their position through their trusted emissary, say sources, but this time, Sachin Pilot has refused to accept anything short of the top post in Rajasthan.
The Gandhis had reportedly told him he would become Chief Minister at some point but it would take time and he is young enough to wait. After all, he was already Deputy Chief Minister, Congress chief in Rajasthan and in charge of five state ministries.
Mr Pilot believes withdrawing his claim to the top job and setting for deputy to Ashok Gehlot in 2018 after the Congress's victory in Rajasthan did not pay off. Since then, the rift between Chief Minister Gehlot and his sulking deputy have only widened.
When Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress in Madhya Pradesh in March, taking 22 MLAs and bringing down the Kamal Nath government, Mr Pilot was also reportedly in talks with the BJP.
"He had been working in tandem with Jyotiraditya Scindia to move away," said sources, adding that the BJP had even hoped he would deliver during the Rajya Sabha elections but to their disappointment, it didn't happen.
Allegations that the BJP was in talks with Mr Pilot for a takeover in Rajasthan peaked in last month's Rajya Sabha election for three seats, when Chief Minister Gehlot alleged an attempt by the BJP to buy his party's MLAs to stage a coup. Mr Pilot openly discredited such talk, saying all Congress MLAs were intact and it was obvious when the party won two of three Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan.
Mr Gehlot had ordered an investigation into alleged attempts to dislodge his government. For Mr Pilot, the breaking point was when he was summoned in the investigation on Friday by the Special Operations Group. A summon also went to Mr Gehlot, but it didn't matter, according to sources close to Mr Pilot, since the investigators report to the Chief Minister.
"Nobody wants to leave his home, but can't continue to put up with this kind of humiliation; my MLAs and supporters are extremely hurt and I will have to listen to them," Mr Pilot told senior journalist and analyst Javed Ansari.
The Congress leadership was aware of brewing trouble in Rajasthan, sources say, but wanted some common ground before meeting with Mr Pilot.
When Mr Scindia quit the Congress, he claimed he had not been given an appointment with the Gandhis for nearly a year. Later, Rahul Gandhi told the media that among the few who could walk into his home anytime was Mr Scindia, 49, his long-time adviser.
Now Mr Pilot, also once a part of Mr Gandhi's inner circle, seems set to follow Mr Scindia, and that too, without a meeting with the Gandhis.