This Article is From Apr 11, 2023

Congress Cracks Down On Sachin Pilot's Fast, Calls It "Anti-Party Activity"

Sachin Pilot is pressing on with his fast to demand the Ashok Gehlot government take action against those involved in corrupt practices in the previous BJP government

The friction between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot has risen to the surface again


The Congress has warned its Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot against going on fast today and called the move an "anti-party activity". Mr Pilot, however, is pressing on with his fast to demand the Ashok Gehlot government take action against those involved in corrupt practices in the previous BJP government. The Gehlot government has denied Mr Pilot's allegations of inaction, leading to a public spectacle of the ruling Congress just months away from the assembly election.

"Sachin Pilot's day-long fast on Tuesday is against the party interests and is anti-party activity. If there is any issue with his own government, it can be discussed in the party forums instead of in the media and public," the Congress's Rajasthan in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said in a statement onMonday, in what is being seen as a final effort to de-escalate the friction between Mr Pilot, who has been eyeing the Chief Minister's post for a long time, and Mr Gehlot, the current Chief Minister.

"I have been an AICC in-charge for the last five months and Pilot ji has never discussed this issue with me. I am in touch with him and I still appeal for calm dialogue since he is an indisputable asset to the Congress party," Mr Randhawa said, referring to his role in the All India Congress Committee.

Though Mr Pilot is demanding action against the corrupt, the latest confrontation with the Gehlot government is being seen as his attempt to put pressure on the Congress leadership to settle the issue of who will be the key face of the party in Rajasthan in an election year.

Mr Pilot keeps no secret about what he wants and the Congress also knows it, which is why the party appears to be scrambling for damage control as Mr Gehlot has a sizable number of loyalists. The Chief Minister was expected to run for the Congress president's election last year, but he stayed on after a rebellion by more than 90 MLAs loyal to him demanded his continuity in power in Rajasthan.

Mr Pilot denies his latest move has got anything to do with a leadership tussle, that it is purely a call to act against the corrupt. But his message is not lost on the Gehlot camp in an election year.

"No action was taken (by the Gehlot government) on corruption by the previous Vasundhara Raje government. While in the opposition, we promised an inquiry into the mines scam of Rs 45,000 crore," Mr Pilot told reporters while announcing the fast. He said he wrote two letters last year to Mr Gehlot detailing the issue, but got no response, after which he decided to take a stronger measure now.

Mr Pilot has requested MLAs supporting him to not join him at the fast, but his supporters are expected to turn up in large numbers for what could be a turning point in Rajasthan politics.

The Congress on Monday put out a statement that leaned more towards Mr Gehlot. "A probe is underway on how the BJP conspired to topple our elected government in Rajasthan and tried to buy our MLAs," said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera. "It is wrong to say that a probe is not on, as an investigation is being carried out and if anyone has a complaint, he should bring it to the notice of the AICC in-charge," Mr Khera added.