Leave hospitality of BJP govt, then we can talk: Congress tells Pilot, 18 rebels

Reports say Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot have softened their stance against each other ahead of the Assembly session on August 14

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala (in pic), Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande and senior Congress leader Ajay Maken have been sent by the party to Rajasthan as central observers. Photo: PTI File

Extending an olive branch to the rebel Congress MLAs of Rajasthan albeit, with a condition, Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on Tuesday (August 4) said the party is willing to hold talks with Sachin Pilot and his 18 loyalists, provided they relinquish the “suraksha chakra” (protective shield) of the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana.

“Gang rapes are happening, people are being beaten up in Gurgaon. There is no police available for them, but 1,000 policemen are deployed for the security of 19 MLAs. The legislators should first give up the Haryana police’s security and friendship and hospitality of the BJP, return home and only then will the dialogue take place,” The Hindu quoted Surjewala as saying.

Surjewala, Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande and senior Congress leader Ajay Maken have been sent by the party to Rajasthan as central observers and are lodged in Jaisalmer along with Chief Minister’s Ashok Gehlot’s flock of MLAs.

Ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly session on August 14, both Gehlot and Pilot camps have softened their stance against each other. While Gehlot on Saturday said that he is ready to welcome back Pilot if the party high command forgave him, reports say the MLAs loyal to Pilot are willing to attend the session.

A political storm broke out in Rajasthan in July after Pilot along with 18 other dissident Congress MLAs rebelled against Gehlot. One of the demands of Pilot was to be anointed the chief minister of the state. Gehlot on the other hand has been blaming the BJP for orchestrating the rebellion.

 

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