Pilot and Gehlot

Congress declares Pilot's 'ghar wapsi,' says panel to hear his woes

KC Venugopal, general secretary, All India Congress Committee, on Monday said the meeting between Pilot and former party chief Rahul Gandhi was "conclusive" and that a committee will be constituted to address the grievances of Pilot and his aggrieved MLAs.

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For the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel with the month-long political crisis triggered by the Sachin Pilot rebellion fizzling out.

KC Venugopal, general secretary, All India Congress Committee, on Monday (August 10) said the meeting between Pilot and former party chief Rahul Gandhi earlier in the day was “conclusive” and that a panel will be constituted to address the grievances of Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs.

This comes just four days ahead of the assembly session in Rajasthan, scheduled to begin from August 14, during which Chief Minister Gehlot was most likely to seek a trust vote in a bid to prove his government’s majority as against the claim made by team Pilot.

Pilot met Gandhi and expressed his grievances in detail, said Venugopal. “They had a frank, open and conclusive discussion. Pilot has committed to work in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan,” said the senior leader, bringing an end to the numerous speculations regarding the fate of the government.

He said, following the meeting earlier in the day, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has decided to constitute a three-member committee to address the issues raised by Pilot and the aggrieved MLAs, and arrive at an appropriate resolution. Besides, removing Gehlot as Chief Minister, the rebels’ demand since Day-1, is also now “out of question”.

The three-member panel will comprise Priyanka Gandhi and senior leaders Venugopal and Ahmed Patel, reported NDTV. News agency ANI said these leaders are holding a meeting with Pilot and other MLAs supporting him at 15 GRG Road war room.

Related news: Gehlot camp MLAs to be in Jaisalmer till assembly convenes

Pilot was reported to have met Rahul Gandhi and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the afternoon. However, it’s not known if Sonia Gandhi attended the meeting at Rahul Gandhi’s residence. Priyanka Gandhi had reportedly met the Rajasthan rebel a couple of weeks back in an attempt to broker peace. The Pilot camp, however, maintained that any conciliation is possible only when Ashok Gehlot is removed as Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, one of 18 MLAs supporting Pilot, Bhanwar Lal Sharma, met the chief minister at his residence in the state capital on Monday. Thereafter, he said “government was safe” and things will get clear by Tuesday. He said other rebel MLAs should also return to Jaipur. This meeting took place hours after dissident Pilot met the two Gandhis in New Delhi.

Earlier, the Rajasthan Police had lodged an FIR against Sharma for the “plot” to topple the state government. After meeting the CM, he told reporters, “It was an internal matter that has now been resolved. There was no resentment against the party or Gehlot. The issue was related to the work of my areas. I have been assured that all work will be done.”

Related news: From Gujarat, 6 Rajasthan BJP MLAs leave for unknown destination

Sharma is said have been camping along with other rebel legislators in Haryana’s Manesar since July 13. Earlier, he had said he will not join the BJP, but wants a change in the state leadership. He had said that the situation will get clear once the floor test takes place. The MLA had then blamed Congress national general secretary Avinash Pande for the crisis.

Pilot and 18 other MLAs had rebelled against the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan last month, leading to Pilot’s sacking as deputy chief minister and the state party chief. MLAs supporting him were also issued disqualification notices by the Speaker. Gehlot, who does not see eye-to-eye with Pilot, had accused him of joining hands with the BJP to plot the downfall of the government. Pilot, however, had denied the allegations.

(With inputs from agencies)

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