Soon after a cease-fire between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot was declared in New Delhi, rumours regarding Mr Pilot’s plans to launch a new political party were once again rampant in this region. Two of Mr. Pilot’s supporters, however, denied the assertion and insisted that he had no plans to quit the Congress.
The supporters of Mr. Pilot in the State are in disarray over his demands calling for action on corruption and exam paper leaks, which remain unaddressed, following a “fragile compromise” worked out by the Congress leadership, which claimed that the two leaders would contest this year’s Assembly election side by side.
The State unit of the Congress maintains that there are no differences inside the party and that the rank and file is united in its preparations for the Assembly election. On June 11, the anniversary of his father Rajesh Pilot’s passing, Mr. Pilot is rumoured to be announcing the formation of a new political party in Dausa.
After the ceasefire on May 29, he made it clear that he would not budge on matters like fighting corruption and enhancing the lot of young people. In Tonk, where he was elected MLA in 2018, Mr. Pilot declared that there would be “no compromise” on the subject of scandals that occurred under the [prior] BJP rule.
Murari Lal Meena, the minister of state for agricultural marketing, referred to the rumours that Mr. Pilot will start his own party as unfounded. “We are all soldiers of Congress… We will fight [elections] together. Mr. Pilot has no intention of leaving the Congress party,” Mr. Meena told reporters here.
Mr. Meena, a member of the Dausa constituency, is regarded as Mr. Pilot’s loyalist and joined him while he was staying at Manesar during the 2020 revolt. On June 11, he announced, a memorial service for the late Mr. Rajesh Pilot would be held in Dausa, and a statue would be installed at a hostel for Gujjars.
While Mr. Meena argued that the rumour that Mr. Pilot would start a new organisation was unfounded, another supporter, Congress MLA Ved Prakash Solanki from Jaipur’s Chaksu constituency, urged the party leadership to take prompt action.
According to Mr. Solanki, Congress members are perplexed by the New Delhi-enforced cease-fire and want to know the strategy going forward. “We stand with the high command and the Congress party. Positive action on Mr. Pilot’s demands will send across the right message,” he said. Mr. Solanki was among the 18 MLAs who sided with Mr. Pilot during the 2020 crisis.
Mr. Pilot has called for a high-level investigation into allegations of corruption during the previous Vasundhara Raje-led administration, a reorganisation of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission, and compensation for young people who were negatively impacted by the cancellation of recruitment exams due to paper leaks. On these problems, he marched for five days last month from Ajmer to Jaipur and demanded that something be done by the end of May.
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) point man for Rajasthan, told reporters outside Sanganer airport on Tuesday after his arrival in Jaipur that the party has “devised a formula” for accommodating Mr. Pilot in light of the cease-fire declared in New Delhi. Mr. Randhawa stated, “We have developed a formula, but I won’t tell you what it is.”
In the months leading up to the upcoming Assembly election, which is scheduled for December of this year, Mr. Randhawa said each Congress leader would be given tasks. During his stay in Jaipur, he will meet with three AICC leaders to hear their feedback after they visit the districts that were allotted to them.
Mr. Randhawa scoffed at the rumours that Mr. Pilot was starting a new party, claiming that they were all fabrications of the media. He said that both Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot were “assets for the Congress” and that they had decided to collaborate for the 2018 Assembly elections. “Mr. Pilot is not going to form a new outfit, nor did he ever have any such thought in his mind in the past,” he said.