"Not Joining BJP, Attempt To Malign Me Before Gandhis": Sachin Pilot

Rajasthan Crisis: "I am still a member of the Congress party," Sachin Pilot insisted a day after he was removed as Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and the party's chief in the state.

"I am not joining BJP, have to decide on future course of action", says Sachin Pilot.

Highlights

  • Sachin Pilot's rebellion has left the Congress teetering
  • "BJP link is an attempt to malign me in eyes of the Gandhis," he said
  • Mr Pilot pointed out he had worked hard to defeat the BJP
New Delhi:

Sachin Pilot, whose rebellion has left the Congress teetering on another cliff-edge in a matter of three months, said today that he is not joining the BJP and still remains 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. The BJP link is an attempt to malign me in the eyes of the Gandhis," Sachin Pilot told NDTV, pointing out that he had worked hard to defeat the BJP.

"I am still a member of the Congress party," he insisted. The comments, a day after he was removed as Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and the party's chief in the state, were read by many as a sign that after a huge escalation, the key actors in the Congress crisis may be angling after reconciliation. Sources say the reaffirmation would certainly please his Congress bosses, the Gandhis.

Vishwendra Singh, a rebel Congress MLA in Sachin Pilot's camp, echoed the statement: "As far as we are concerned, we are with the congress."

Speculation intensified after Sachin Pilot first put off, then cancelled his press briefing today.

The 42-year-old Congress leader launched his revolt on Sunday after nearly two years of feuding with his main rival and former boss, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. He said he felt humiliated after being asked to answer questions in an investigation started by the Chief Minister into alleged attempts to dislodge the Congress government.

Bruised by Jyotiraditya Scindia's exit, which led to the Congress collapse in Madhya Pradesh in March, the party reportedly made several attempts to reach out to him over the past two days. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was among the top leaders who spoke to him. So did the other Gandhis (party chief Sonia and Rahul Gandhi), according to reports, but through emissaries.

Amid reports that he wanted the Congress to name him Chief Minister in place of Ashok Gehlot, Sachin Pilot told NDTV that he has yet to decide on a future course of action. "I would like to serve the people of Rajasthan," he said.

Sachin Pilot was 26 when he became an MP and was in Rahul Gandhi's close circle, along with other gen-next leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora. After Rahul Gandhi quit as Congress president over the party's 2019 national election disaster, these leaders struggled.     

In 2018, Sachin Pilot was forced to step back in the race for Chief Ministership in a pact brokered by Rahul Gandhi.