Sachin Pilot calls truce with Congress, 3-member panel to address issues raised by him

Sachin Pilot calls truce with Congress, 3-member panel to address issues raised by him
Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi during a party meeting at Ramlila Maidan in Jaipur. PTI

New Delhi: Rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Monday called a truce with the party to end the Rajasthan government's survival crisis, after meeting party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra here.

Sachin Pilot will "work in the interest" of the Congress party and its government in the state (Rajasthan), the Congress said on Monday after a meeting between the former Rajasthan deputy chief minister and Rahul Gandhi.

The two leaders had a "frank, open and conclusive discussion", AICC general secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said in a statement.

"Following this meeting, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided that the AICC will constitute a three member committee to address the issues raised by Shri Sachin Pilot and the aggrieved MLA and arrive at an appropriate resolution thereof," the statement said.

"Shri Sachin Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan," it added.

The Congress had sacked Pilot as deputy chief minister and Rajasthan Congress president. So far, Gehlot has stayed put as the chief minister amid claims and counter-claims on attempts to poach MLAs.

The development comes after Rahul Gandhi met Sachin Pilot on Monday. The duo had a meeting in presence of Priyanka Gandhi and then both Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi drove from Rahul Gandhi's residence to 10 Janpath, where all the three, including Sonia Gandhi, discussed the issue.

Sources said that Congress has assured that Pilot's grievances will be addressed regarding Ashok Gehlot and Rajasthan politics. However, the party claims that previous status will be restored and his concerns will be sorted out.

While leaders from the Congress camp claimed that MLAs from the Pilot camp did not want to join the ranks, the negotiations started with the party and Pilot reapproached the senior leadership, including Ahmed Patel and Rahul Gandhi, and was taken into confidence for future action. After Rahul Gandhi said yes, the deal was sealed.

Rebel Cong MLAs meets Gehlot

Meanwhile, Rebel Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma on Monday met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at Jaipur in Rajasthan, indicating a patch-up between rival party factions.

After the meeting at Gehlot's official residence, Sharma said the "government was safe" and things will get clear by Tuesday. He said other rebel MLAs should also return to Jaipur.

The meeting took place hours after dissident Congress leader Sachin Pilot met the Gandhis in New Delhi.

Sharma is one of the 18 legislators who backed Pilot in the power tussle with CM Gehlot.

After meeting the CM, he told reporters, "It was an internal matter, which has now been resolved. There was no resentment against the party or the chief minister. The issue was related to the work of my areas. I have been assured that all work will be done."

Sharma is said have been camping along with other rebel legislators in Haryana's Manesar since July 13. Earlier, Sharma had said he will not join the BJP, but wants a change in the leadership.

He had said that situation will get clear once the floor test takes place. The seven-time MLA had then blamed Congress national general secretary Avinash Pande for the crisis.

'No possibility of leadership'

Earlier in the day, Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra had ruled out any possibility of a leadership change in the state, saying it is merely a rumour.

"There is no such thing or discussion on change in leadership. It is a fake and hollow rumour. Ashok Gehlot is the chief minister and he will remain so for five years," Dotasra told reporters.

Dotasra along with other Congress leaders were here to meet the Rajasthan Speaker C P Joshi ahead of the assembly session convened from August 14.

Replying to a question on Sunday's CLP meeting where the Congress leaders ruled out the return of rebel legislators to the party, Dotasra said everyone is free to speak in a meeting but decisions ultimately are taken by the party high-command.

"There is a freedom for every member to put forth his views but decisions ultimately are taken by the party high command. Everything is in the knowledge of the party high command and whatever decision is taken, it will be right," he said.

When asked whether the party's doors for Sachin Pilot camp have been closed, he said, "Doors were open. They have run away. We have not asked them to go."

He said it's now between the rebel MLAs and party high command as we did not discuss their return, said Dotasra.

The party's state unit chief said party leaders met Speaker Joshi on Monday so that the House runs smoothly when the session begins on August 14 and issues related to people are discussed peacefully in the House.

He also said the Congress will become a party in the court on the issue of merger of six BSP candidates as they are now the Congress legislators.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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