Ashok Gehlot Sachin Pilot
Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot have been in a power tussle ever since the Congress formed the Rajasthan government in December 2018 | File photo: PTI

Rajasthan: No lull in desert storm; Pilot says he’s waiting for govt to act on demands

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Just when it seemed that the Congress had finally been able to strike a truce between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot, the latter made it clear on Wednesday (May 31) that he would not budge from his demands.

The dissident Congress leader, who had given Gehlot time till the end of May to act against state BJP leaders for alleged “corruption” during their term, said in his Tonk assembly constituency that the “ultimatum” had ended. He has a couple of other demands too.

“So, let us see what happens tomorrow,” he told reporters.

Pilot’s demands

The ongoing feud between Gehlot and Pilot escalated a few weeks back, with the Tonk MLA holding a daylong fast over his demand. He followed it up with a five-day Jan Sangharsh Yatra foot march, after which he said he would launch a state-wide agitation unless his demands were not met by May-end.

Pilot’s three demands include reconstitution of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC), compensation to youths affected by the leak of exam papers, and a high-level probe into allegations of corruption against the previous Vasundhara Raje government.

Also read: Rajasthan: Congress’s desert storm blows over as Gehlot, Pilot sing unity tune

On Monday, after Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former party president Rahul Gandhi met the two warring leaders, the party declared that they had agreed to “fight the election unitedly” and “win the state”. It was felt that the party had worked out a formula for both the leaders, who have tussled over leadership since the party’s government came to power, to work together.

But in Tonk, Pilot signalled that he was sticking to his stand. “I want to say it again that the issues that I had raised, particularly the corruption issue… vast corruption and loot in the previous BJP rule… action will have to be taken on them.

What now?

“As far as getting justice for the youth is concerned, I think there is no possibility of any compromise on it,” Pilot said, referring to exams for government jobs being cancelled after paper leaks.

“I had said on May 15 that the state government should take action on the issues of corruption by the BJP government and the youth,” he said, reminding that this was the “last day of the month”.

Also read: Rajasthan Congress incharge says Gehlot will respond to Pilot’s ultimatum

Pilot said he was waiting for action by the Gehlot government. “Talks were held in Delhi the day before yesterday. They (the leadership) said the responsibility of taking action lies with the state government. So, let us see what happens tomorrow,” he said.

Pilot said the filling of vacant posts at the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) was necessary for its better functioning.

He said the youths who live in rented accommodation while preparing for competitive examinations suffer when papers get leaked. So, the aspirants should get financial compensation in such situations, he added.

On Karnataka

Referring to the Congress win in the Karnataka Assembly election, he said the BJP lost as it repeatedly “deceived” people.

Also read: First 100 units electricity per month free for all households in Rajasthan: CM Gehlot

“They talk about double engines. But now those engines have started ceasing,” Pilot said. The BJP uses the “double engine” analogy to claim that there is development when the party is in power both in the state and at the Centre.

Pilot said the BJP regime in Karnataka was corrupt and the Congress had accused it of being a “40 percent commission” government. The people agreed with this and voted for the Congress, he claimed.

(With agency inputs)

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