"Fake news" was how the Congress dismissed reports that Sachin Pilot was in touch with the Gandhis. Not only that, Mr Pilot is still in talks with the BJP, sources in the party said shortly after its Rajasthan MLAs passed a resolution to penalize anyone indulging in activities against the party or its government.
The Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, who is at the heart of the current crisis for the Congress in the state, has denied that he is joining the BJP, sources close to him have said. But he also denied meeting Mr Gandhi or having any plan for such a meeting today.
The denial came amid Congress attempts at reconciliation with the sulking leader. Senior party leader Randeep Surjewala today said the party's "doors were open". Insiders said Mr Pilot was in touch with the Central leaders.
"Some fake news was spread," sources in the Congress told NDTV this evening. "Sachin Pilot is not in direct touch with any of the Gandhis. The talks are being conducted only through emissaries and via media," a leader said.
Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are yet to meet Mr Pilot, who spent the last two days in Delhi, with some MLA supporters. They, however, have been in regular touch with him, Mr Surjewala had said.
"The Congress understands that he (Mr Pilot) is still in touch with the BJP and negotiating with them despite his denial," the leader added. The party, he however added, was still ready to listen and reach out to him.
The number of Mr Pilot's loyalists -- estimated by the party to be around 16 -- has come down to 10 to 12 MLAs, the leader said.
Yesterday, Mr Pilot claimed he has the support of 30 MLAs. Congress sources, however, said he has no more than 16 legislators with him.
After a party meeting this morning in Jaipur, the Congress estimated that the government of Ashok Gehlot had the support of 106 MLAs -- a majority in the 200-member state assembly.