“I told you repeatedly that I was not joining the BJP. It was a fight for self-respect and honour,” said Sachin Pilot, 42, to Gulf News after the prodigal ended his month-long revolt and returned to base - the Congress party.
It took intervention from former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his sibling Priyanka Gandhi and a two-hour plus meeting in Rahul Gandhi’s home for Pilot to come back on board. The Gandhi family assured him that his grievances would be addressed and that his group of MLAs would get an honourable settlement.
Pilot had been divested of his two posts - deputy chief minister and state Congress chief and is unlikely to get them back. A three-member committee to address his issues in a time-bound manner has been set up. It comprises Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel, Congress treasurer, and KC Venugopal, organisation general secretary.
Pilot had always maintained that he did not have a problem with the Congress party and its central leadership, but was suffocated with the style of working of his ex-boss Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthan chief minister Gehlot, 69, had abused Pilot publicly calling him a “nikkama” (useless), a handsome face hiding a calculating personality and incredibly, his English speaking prowess, with which according to Gehlot, he “impressed TV anchors”.
Pilot has not said a public word in retaliation against Gehlot or the Congress party. Pilot only tweeted “truth will prevail” when he was divested of his twin posts.
The biggest takeaway for the Congress party is that it has saved its government in Rajasthan and Gehlot has won this round as Pilot wanted to replace him. The party was firm that Gehlot would continue. Pilot has lost some political capital and will have to be patient, but there is no doubt that he is the Congress’s future in Rajasthan.
So how did it all unravel?
Pilot’s group of MLAs who were being kept in a Haryana resort were clear they did not want to join the BJP. They also told Pilot that they were tired of schlepping around resorts and wanted to go back.
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The BJP in Rajasthan led by Vasundhara Raje Scindia did not want Pilot in the party as a rival under any circumstances. She threatened a mini rebellion if the BJP acted to support him.
In reality all the political players had exhausted their options and sought face-savers all around.
A month post his rebellion, Pilot will now head back to Jaipur with his 18 legislators.
Sources say Pilot has been assured of a big central job in the upcoming organisational reshuffle in the Congress and a huge say in Rajasthan affairs.