Congress Set For A Setback Ahead Of Rajasthan Assembly Polls? Speculations Rife About Sachin Pilot Floating A New Party
Amid his ongoing tussle with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress leader Sachin Pilot is reportedly planning to announce a new party.
Congress leadership's efforts to broker peace between the two leaders have so far been unsuccessful.
On Monday (5 June), Congress general secretary in-charge of organisation K C Venugopal had a prolonged phone call with Sachin Pilot, which was their third interaction since 29 May. Earlier on 29 May, the party leadership managed to bring the two leaders together to settle their differences.
However, no peace formula has been announced by the party so far, even as reports started emerging on Tuesday (6 June) that Pilot may announce a new party in the poll-bound state.
The Congress is reportedly finding it difficult to meet Pilot's three core demands without upsetting the Chief Minister or discrediting the state government.
However, sources close to Pilot have refuted news reports that he would float a party on 11 June, the death anniversary of his father and Congress leader Rajesh Pilot, reports Indian Express.
They reportedly claimed that the news regarding the new party was spread by the Gehlot camp.
However, there was no official word from Pilot or his supporters on the development.
Reportedly, the high command intends to reach a compromise with Pilot, although it's a challenging task because of the Tonk MLA's insistence that Gehlot accepts all his demands, including a high-level enquiry into alleged corruption cases during erstwhile Vasundhara Raje government, disbanding Rajasthan Public Service Commission and reconstituting it via a new law, and compensation for students who suffered due to paper leaks.
The Gehlot camp has been opposing the acceptance of these demands as it may negatively impact the Congress government ahead of the upcoming elections, particularly because of Pilot's allegation that the investigation of cases related to the Raje government was intentionally delayed.
Meanwhile, Pilot is under pressure from his supporters as the party is yet to accept his demands, even as the 15-day deadline he had set for the state government is expiring.
In light of these developments, speculations are rife that Pilot will announce his next course of action on 11 June.
Pilot had been for months contemplating leaving Congress and forming his own political party as a Plan B, Indian Express reported citing sources close to the former Rajasthan deputy CM.
Recently, he is said to have enlisted the help of political consultancy firm, I-PAC as part of the move. Two executives from the consultancy firm had reportedly proposed a plan to Pilot for the creation of his own party.
Some AICC leaders believe that his plan included increasing pressure with clear demands, a day-long dharna (against high command's wishes), and a five-day yatra.
However, Pilot postponed the plan after AICC contacted him.
Top Congress leaders reportedly also believe that despite the conflict, Pilot doesn't really want to leave the party. He would prefer the high command to persuade Gehlot to fulfill his demands, and he is optimistic this can be achieved.
When asked whether Pilot was testing his chances, a senior Congress leader was quoted by IE as saying that they were in discussions with him.
"Now how can I say whether he is intentionally spreading it (talk of his leaving) or if it is the handiwork of the other camp. As far as we are concerned, we are working towards a resolution," the Senior leader said.
The AICC in-charge of Rajasthan, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, arrived in Jaipur on Tuesday for a four-day visit.
He had reportedly spoken with Pilot but had no knowledge about his plans.
Randhawa denied Pilot's plans for a new party, telling reporters that he had heard it from them but there was nothing like that and that Pilot had no desire for it earlier or now.
“I am here to meet MLAs and all those leaders who want to meet me. I will be meeting everyone," he said.
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