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Congress announces truce in Rajasthan but both Gehlot and Pilot camps talk about ‘no formula’

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Congress leader K.C. Venugopal with party leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot speaks with the media after a meeting at party President Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence, in New Delhi on Monday, May 29, 2023.

Congress leader K.C. Venugopal with party leaders Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot speaks with the media after a meeting at party President Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence, in New Delhi on Monday, May 29, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress may have announced truce between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former Deputy Sachin Pilot, and asserted that the two would unitedly fight the Assembly elections but sources claimed that “core issues” remain unresolved.

While sources close to both Mr. Gehlot and Mr. Pilot told The Hindu on Tuesday that there was ‘no concrete proposal,’ Mr. Gehlot stressed on the virtue of patience.

Also Read | Rajasthan political crisis | Decision will be taken in party’s interest, says Kharge 

Various proposals are being speculated to accommodate the former Deputy Chief Minister, including one to make him the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief once again. He was stripped of both the positions after his unsuccessful rebellion against Mr. Gehlot in July 2020.

“I remember the words of Sonia Gandhi who at the Congress convention had asked party workers to have patience and they would get to serve the party in some way. I keep this in my heart and tell party people to have patience. They would get the opportunity to serve the party in some way. So I call for patience, patience, patience,” Mr. Gehlot told reporters.

‘For high command to decide’

Asked if he would be able to work with Mr. Pilot and in what role, the Chief Minister replied, “If he [Mr. Pilot] is in the party then why won’t he do this….It is for the high command to decide what role one plays. It is not up to us, it is up to the high command to give the role”.

And in a not-so-subtle message to Mr. Pilot, who had raised issues such as recruitment exams paper leak, Mr. Gehlot asserted that his government had delivered on the ground.

Also Read | Sachin Pilot raises Ashok Gehlot’s hackles again, to fast for probe into Vasundhra Raje government deals

“Entire Rajasthan knows what kind of governance we have provided in the last five years after our victory and I have done what I could,” he said, adding, “I feel I have succeeded this time and I feel our government will be repeated. But, the public is the king as it is the people who will decide and it is acceptable to me. There is a lot of enthusiasm among people and I feel that when I meet people”.

The announcement of truce by general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal, without directly addressing the three key demands of Mr. Pilot has put his supporters in a dilemma. They are unsure whether he would go ahead with the State-wide agitation to press for his demands.

Earlier, Mr. Pilot had given an ‘ultimatum’ to his own government to order a high-level probe into alleged corruption during the previous Vasundhara Raje-led government by the end of May. His two other demands were about reconstituting the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) and provide compensation for those affected by the cancellation of recruitment exams because of paper leaks.

Rajasthan Congress Crisis | Will Ashok Gehlot- Sachin Pilot tussle reach its climax?

“He [Mr. Pilot] has no other option but to start his agitational programme if no firm announcement is made. Maybe, he will wait till June 11 [his father Rajesh Pilot’s death anniversary] and then make an announcement. But he is firm about his demands,” said one of his supporters.

Sources also told The Hindu that despite the press conference of Mr. Venugopal with the two leaders by his side outside Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s house, the top leadership held separate meetings with both of them and all of them posed together for a photo inside the Congress chief’s official residence.

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