Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Lokesh Sharma on Sunday met Sachin Pilot, a day after the Congress released its first list of 33 candidates for the November 25 assembly polls.
Pilot is a senior leader of the party and "discussions on assembly elections were held in the meeting", said Sharma, who was recently appointed co-chairman of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee's central war room for the polls to the 200-member assembly.
When asked by reporters whether he discussed with Pilot his aspiration to contest the polls from Bikaner West, Sharma said that "as a Congress worker, I wish to contest the elections". The Bikaner West assembly seat is currently held by Education Minister BD Kalla.
"The Congress is "going to (fight) the election with unity" and it will win the polls, Sharma said after the meeting at Pilot's Civil Lines residence that lasted for nearly half an hour.
Gehlot and his former deputy Pilot have been at loggerheads over leadership in the state ever since the Congress came to power in Rajasthan in December 2018. The chief minister had faced a rebellion by Pilot and his MLA supporters in 2020.
In an October 20 public meeting of Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Dausa, both Gehlot and Pilot talked about unity. Priyanka Gandhi at the meet also asserted that the party is united in Rajasthan.
The Congress has fielded Gehlot from Sardarpura and his former deputy Sachin Pilot from Tonk. Three leaders who rebelled against Gehlot with Pilot in 2020 made it to the list -- Indraj Singh Gurjar from Virat Nagar, Mukesh Bhakhar from Ladnun, and Ramniwas Gawariya from Parbatsar.
In 2020, during the time of the political crisis, Sharma was accused of circulating call recordings which, he claimed, were for exposing political conspiracy to topple the Gehlot government.
It was alleged that the recordings were of phone calls between Union Minister and senior BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and others. On the basis of the call recordings, then chief whip Mahesh Joshi had given a complaint to the special operation group and anti-corruption bureau of the Rajasthan Police seeking investigation against Shekhawat and others.
In March 2021, Shekhawat , who is MP from Jodhpur, also lodged an FIR against Sharma in Delhi on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telegraphic signals (telephonic conversation) following which Sharma approached Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIR.
The court had given him relief by staying coercive action against him, which is continuing. Sharma has also appeared before the crime branch of the Delhi Police for questioning five times.
-With PTI Input