"Issues Were Ideological, Was Important To Raise Them," Says Sachin Pilot

"We have come to power by working with the party... I have never said or done anything that does not befit me," Sachin Pilot told reporters.

Rajasthan: Sachin Pilot said he did not want to discuss his issues before the media

New Delhi:

Congress rebel Sachin Pilot, after daylong deliberations to chart out a path for reconciliation with the party, told reporters on Monday evening that his rebellion was meant to flag "ideological issues". He also thanked Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for "taking the time to hear us out". Ms Gandhi Vadra is part of the party's three-member panel that is expected to look into the rebels' grievances. Earlier on Monday, in a first since he started his revolt last month, Mr Pilot met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to work a way out of the impasse that has kept the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan on tenterhooks for a month.

The 42-year-old, who has repeatedly denied reports that he was joining the BJP, now said, "There were some issues which we wanted to highlight. I did that".

"I had been saying since beginning that all these things were based on principle. I always thought it was essential to raise these things in the party's interest," he added.

Later, in a late-night tweet, Mr Pilot thanked Gandhis and other senior leaders for "addressing grievances".

"I thank Smt Sonia Ji, @RahulGandhi Ji, @priyankagandhi Ji & @INCIndia leaders for noting & addressing our grievances.I stand firm in my belief & will continue working for a better India, to deliver on promises made to the people of Rajasthan & protect democratic values we cherish," he tweeted.

The rebel leader who commands the loyalty of 18 MLAs, have been pressing for a change in leadership in the state.

Mr Pilot and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot have been out of step since they took charge of the state after the 2018 assembly elections. Mr Pilot, widely seen as the architect of the party's resurgence in the state, had aspired to the top post, but accepted the role of Mr Gehlot's second-in-command after the intervention of Rahul Gandhi.

The breaking point came when the state police insisted on questioning him in connection with the alleged BJP conspiracy to topple the Congress government.

Over the subsequent weeks, Mr Gehlot accused Mr Pilot of deal-making with the BJP to pull down the government where he was the Deputy Chief Minister, labelled him "nikamma" (useless) and made strong remarks about politicians who bank on their looks and English language proficiency.

"Speaking good English, giving good quotes and being handsome isn't everything. What is in your heart for the country, your ideology, policies and commitment, everything is important," the 69-year-old had said.

"Ashok Gehlot was made the Chief Minister after the victory in the election. I was made the deputy. I don't want to address my issues in front of the media," Mr Pilot said on Monday.

"Several things were said. I heard a lot of things. I was surprised by a few things that were said. I think we should always maintain restraint and humility. There is no place for personal malice in politics. We had formed government in Rajasthan after five years of hard work," he added.