Amid Gehlot Vs Pilot Tussle, Rajasthan Congress Chief Reaches Delhi, Meets Kharge

Rajasthan Congress chief Randhawa met AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and held talked for about half an hour in Delhi, a day after Sachin Pilot observed a day-long fast in Jaipur, defying his party's warning.

Sachin Pilot sits on hunger strike

The situation is heating up for Congress in Rajasthan with the ongoing tussle between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot. Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, the current Congress in charge of Rajasthan, headed to Delhi and met with party supremo Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday. Speculations are rife that the grand old party is looking for a major overhaul in the western state.

The development comes a day after Pilot observed a day-long fast at the Martyr's Memorial in Jaipur demanding action from the state government – his own party – over cases of alleged corruption under the previous Vasundhara Raje-led BJP government in Rajasthan.

The Congress’ central leadership had warned the leader that the move, just months ahead of the assembly polls in the state, would be considered "anti-party activity". 

Rajasthan Congress chief Randhawa met Kharge and held talked for about half an hour at his 10 Rajaji Marg residence in the national capital, anonymous sources told PTI.

The Congress leadership has decided to intervene in the matter, according to an NDTV report, as it does not want to repeat a Punjab-like fiasco, where former chief minister Amarinder Singh, amid a feud with rival Navjot Singh Sidhu, quit the party and formed his own outfit months ahead of the assembly polls last year.

Pilot in Delhi

Meanwhile, Sachin Pilot also reached Delhi earlier today. There was speculation that he might meet Randhawa and other senior leaders, but sources close to Pilot told PTI that no such meetings had been scheduled.

The party had maintained silence yesterday when Pilot observed the fast.

As Pilot was leaving the site where he held his dharna, he told reporters that Rahul Gandhi, the Congress and other opposition parties have united over corruption and financial irregularities, and claimed that his fast will speed up this movement.

The Congress leader also said that he wrote two letters on this issue to Gehlot last year but received no reply.

A never-ending tussle

The tension between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his bitter rival Sachin Pilot is rooted in Pilot's rebellion in 2020 when he used to hold the position of deputy chief minister as well as Rajasthan Congress chief. 

Both Gehlot and Pilot were keen on the chief minister's post when the party won the state assembly elections in 2018. But the Congress high command picked Gehlot for the top post for a third time.

In July 2020, Pilot rebelled openly against Gehlot along with his loyalist MLAs and camped out of state. The rebellion, however, failed and he eventually returned to the Congress folds but he was stripped of the posts of deputy CM and Pradesh Congress Committee president.

During this period, Gehlot also had lashed out sharply at Pilot and called him "nikamma" (worthless) and "naakaara" (useless). 

Even after the rebellion was over, the tussle between the two leaders continued and Gehlot has on several occasions expressed his displeasure regarding Pilot publicly.