The Congress on Monday presented a united face after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot had a detailed meeting with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader Rahul Gandhi, announcing that both the state leaders have agreed to fight unitedly against the BJP in the state.
After the meeting at the residence of Kharge, lasting for over four hours, ended, both Gehlot and Pilot, sporting smiles on their faces, came out along with party General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal to brief the press.
Venugopal, who was flanked by Gehlot and Pilot, said: “In view of upcoming Rajasthan Assembly elections, Kharge and Rahul Gandhi had a detailed discussion with Gehlot and Pilot.
“In this election, we have decided to fight election unitedly and both of them are in agreement that the Congress has to go together in Rajasthan. Both have agreed to work together and definitely we will win in Rajasthan. Both the leaders Pilot and Gehlot unitedly and unanimously agreed to the proposal.”
Asked about the details of the proposal, Venugopal said, “Both left it to the high command.”
“Both the leaders will work together and will give joint fight to the BJP and we will win in Rajasthan,” he reiterated.
The acceptance of the formula to bring the two leaders ahead of crucial Assembly polls this year gave the party much-needed relief as both have been attacking each other in last few months.
Gehlot arrived at Kharge’s residence around 6 p.m.
The party leadership first spoke to Gehlot and then Pilot was called for the meeting. He arrived at the residence of Kharge, almost an hour and half after Gehlot.
Rahul Gandhi was also present in the meeting, considered crucial to sort out the rumblings in the state leadership where both the leaders have targeted each other.
The source said that after holding discussion with Gehlot, the leadership spoke to Pilot separately. By the time, Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, and Venugopal discussed the issues of Pilot, Gehlot was sitting in another room.
The party leadership, after hearing both the sides, then brought the two leaders face to face for a detailed discussion to sort out their differences.
Earlier in the day, after arriving in the national capital and speaking to media at the airport here, Gehlot when asked about various formulas being speculated around him and Pilot, said: “Never in my life have I seen a tradition in Congress that a leader demands something or high command asks him what post he wants.”
Rubbbishing such reports, he said that these are only the creation of the media and some leaders may be getting such stories planted.
“High Command and Congress party are so strong that such a situation will not arise that you are making an offer to pacify someone. It has never happened, it will never happen…” he added.
The series of meetings on Monday had come close on the heels of Pilot’s “ultimatum” that if three demands he made from the state government were not met by the end of this month, then he would launch a state-wide agitation.
Pilot had also asked for a high-level inquiry into the alleged scams that took place during the tenure of the former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government, as one of his many demands.
The Congress’ Rajasthan unit had been in a state of turmoil since July 2020, when Pilot staged a revolt seeking a leadership change in the state.
Following this, Pilot, who was the Deputy Chief Minister, was removed from the post as well as state Congress President.
Since then, there had been tensions within the state party unit and the crisis deepened in September last year before the party President’s election.