Although Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot were seen together at the Congress’ dharna staged against the Centre’s farm laws in Jaipur, differences between the two remained obvious as not a word was exchanged except for courtesy purposes.
The dharna took place on Sunday.
It was for the first time after August last year that Gehlot and Pilot were seen together ever since the high command brokered peace between the two.
Gehlot called a dinner after the dharna in which he invited leaders from the Pilot’s camp as well in a bid to be seen as the peacemaker.
Vishvendra Singh, a leader from the Pilot camp, who was stripped off his state minister’s portfolio last year, was seen during the dinner. However, Ramesh Meena, another pro Pilot leader, who was also removed from the state minister’s post, was absent from the dinner invite.
“This dinner diplomacy is of no use. There is intense dissatisfaction in the party. We are awaiting the PCC formation, political appointments and cabinet expansion. An even approach is what we want. However, the continuous delay is making the situation volatile and this volcano simmering within the workers can erupt any time,” said a Congress worker who attended this dinner.
In fact, Pilot, before entering the Chief Minister’s residence for the dinner, said, “We have been pitching for respect and regard to be given to the workers who have worked hard for forming this government. We are confident that the high command will look into our demands,” he said.
Sources confirmed that Gehlot wanted his close aides and senior leaders to be given plush positions in the PCC, which Pilot has ‘not acceded’ to so for, sources said.
In fact, many senior leaders have already shown their disinterest in joining the PCC. Archana Sharma, former PCC vice-president and media chief, has also accepted that she is not interested as she has been doing the same thing for the last 21 years. “I have asked the high command to give me a chance to serve people,” she said.
Meanwhile, this dinner diplomacy despite differences is being discussed across party lines.
Who can get a larger share in the PCC and in which role, is what is being eagerly awaited, said another Congress worker adding: “The PCC list and political appointments will make it clear who is the winner in the longer run and who emerges as the dark horse,” he added.
Pilot had rebelled against the Rajasthan government in July 2020 demanding a change in the leadership, and as a fall out, he was removed as the party’s state chief and his title of deputy CM was also snatched from him in a bid to appease the Gehlot camp.
It was only after the intervention of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other veteran leaders that Pilot who exhibited all signs of a rebel camping with his followers in a resort near Delhi, finally retirned to the party fold.
The high command formed a three-member committee, including late Ahmed Patel, K.C. Venugopal and Ajay Maken to look into the grievances of the Pilot camp. However, after the death of Ahmed Patel, things have slowed down.
Since then, the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Govind Singh Dotasara has been running a one-man army show. He is also the state education minister.
Even though Ajay Maken had promised to form a new PCC by December 31, however, nothing had been done in the direction. A senior Congress worker told IANS, “The differences between the two camps are so intense that even the high command is now feeling helpless. Gehlot camp is not interested in giving any space to the Pilot followers and vice-versa.
“In this scenario, another round of rebellion looms large if one camp is given mileage and, hence the delay in forming of a new PCC.”