Three days after the political crisis with the Rajasthan government came to an end, sources said Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will meet Sachin Pilot, who rebelled against him over the last one month.
The two of them are likely to see each other during a Congress Legislature Party meeting scheduled for Thursday (August 13), a day before the special session of the Rajasthan Assembly.
Sachin Pilot returned to Jaipur on Tuesday (August 11), ending his rebellion with the party after a meeting with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who assured him that his grievances would be addressed.
However, he arrived to a cold reception from Gehlot, who chose to fly to Jaisalmer, where more than 100 MLAs had stayed to be kept safe for a possible trust vote on Friday.
At the same time, Gehlot said resentment among the Congress MLAs was natural after the return of dissident legislators to the party-fold but asked them to “forgive, forget and move on”.
“Forget and forgive and move on in the interest of the country, the state, the people of the state and democracy. Democracy in under threat. This was a fight to save democracy, in which our MLAS gave their support,” he said.
“It is natural for them to be upset. The way this episode happened, they had to stay in hotels,” he said in an apparent reference to the previous evening’s Congress Legislature Party meeting in Jaisalmer.
“I have exhorted them that in the interest of the country, state, people of the state and for saving democracy, sometimes we have to bear this,” he said.
At earlier Congress Legislature Party meetings, the loyalist MLAs had called for disciplinary action against the dissidents who defied party whips while demanding a change in the leadership in the state.
Many others too were equally disgruntled about the fact that the disloyal MLAs and Pilot were taken back without making amends or much hassle.
Gehlot had himself called the now sacked state Congress president “useless”, using the derogatory Hindi word ‘nikamma’ for Sachin Pilot.
In response to Gehlot’s dig, Pilot admitted that he had felt hurt, but that name-calling should not be a deterrent to the current “larger mission”. “Some unparliamentary and inappropriate terms were used. Not to say that I was not offended, I am human. I did feel hurt and disappointed, but we have a larger mission and name-calling should not be a deterrent,” Pilot was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Meanwhile, with just two days to go before the Assembly session, the party has decided to keep the MLAs together at a resort in Jaipur and is not taking any chances.
The MLAs in the Gehlot camp were on Wednesday flown back to Jaipur from Jaisalmer, where they were together at another hotel. They were taken straight from the airport to the Fairmont hotel on the outskirts of the city, where they had stayed before being moved to Jaisalmer.
The MLAs, mostly from the Congress, and a few allies are expected to stay there until the special Assembly session on August 14.