Actions against MLAs opposed to CM Ashok Gehlot precipitated the political crisis in Rajasthan and he would still have the right to point out gaps in governance, Congress functionarySachin Pilot told TOI’s Subodh Ghildiyal. Excerpts:
Now that you have ended your rebellion, what happened to your demand for a change of chief minister?
Exactly a month ago, as deputy CM, I was served a notice by the SOG which was unacceptable to me. We felt there were many issues like governance, delivery and non-participative leadership in Rajasthan. We wanted to make the
party leadership aware
of this and came to Delhi. But there were lots of FIRs filed, ACB cases, suspension of MLAs. Actions in Jaipur precipitated matters. But we said from day one that we are in Congress and we will stay there. We are happy that Congress leadership has put out a roadmap to address our issues.
Where do you stand today? What position do you expect now?
Whatever I am today is because of the blessings of people of Rajasthan. My job in future is to fulfil the promises made to people. I have made no demands to the leadership. I am an MLA and have a job in my constituency.
is Rajasthan and I want to work here. I spent seven years here as PCC chief. But I will do whatever is asked of me.
What do you think about CM Ashok Gehlot now?
He is an experienced politician and older to me. I have no
against him. But I do have the right to point out things that I believe are not right in governance, administration and day-to-day functioning. That is not anti-party or illegal or anti-national in any way.
What’ll happen to the MLAs who sided with you in your rebellion? Will the sacked ministers be reinstated?
They are Congress MLAs and senior people. They all deserve participation in party and government on merit. How that will happen, we have to see. There should not be any vendetta politics against them. Let the three-member AICC committee decide on the reinstatement of ministers. I don’t see the possibility of my returning as deputy CM. To have a house and a car is pointless if you don’t have the honour or are not able to work.
Can things be normal again after the exchanges between you and Gehlot — you revolting and the chief ministercalling you “nikamma” and “nakara”?
We will work together to fulfil the promises made to people... I felt deeply hurt when those words were used. However, I chose to not respond. Unparliamentary language is unbecoming of someone who aspires to be in a high office. I have never made any personal allegations against the CM.
The chief minister said he never spoke to you since the government assumed office 18 months ago?
The CM said so. I have nothing to say about it. But it gives you an idea how the government functioned for over one and half years.
Will the police cases and disqualification notices against rebel MLAs be withdrawn?
I think that there is a broad understanding on the direction to proceed. Some cases are in courts, so we will have to see how they pan out.
Even your sympathisers in Congress said you were “in tight embrace with BJP”, citing your lawyers and place of stay as evidence?
We all shared the legal and logistical cost incurred over three-odd weeks. The MLAs were fearful of coercive action by the Rajasthan police. So, they had to stay out of Rajasthan. The charge of working with BJP was all cooked up.