After Ashok Gehlot’s all-out attack on his Rajasthan rival Sachin Pilot, whom he repeatedly called a “gaddar (traitor)” in an exclusive interview on NDTV, the Congress today said some of the words used by the chief minister were “unexpected” and “surprising”. .
“Some of the words used in the interview were unexpected. Many are surprised. The Congress leadership will discuss how to resolve it. We are a family, and Congress needs both an experienced leader like Ashok Gehlot and an energetic youth leader like Sachin Pilot,” Congress leader Jairam Ramesh told NDTV.
He added: “Even I was surprised by the words (Gehlot) used.”
The statement appears to be a step up from yesterday, when the Congress issued a play-safe statement, refraining from criticizing Mr Gehlot for his strong language.
“There are some differences that will be resolved. There is no atmosphere of fear in our team. People say whatever comes to mind. The high command is not a dictator,” Mr Ramesh said in a statement.
He said both are senior leaders and critics of the party. “The organization is supreme, not the individual. Any solution should be considered. Right now, it is the duty of every Congress to make the Bharat Joro Yatra a success in North India as well as in the Southern states,” the former Union minister asserted.
In his scathing attack on Sachin Pilot, Mr Gehlot told NDTV that he is a traitor and can never be the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
“A gaddar (traitor) cannot be chief minister. The high command can’t make Sachin Pilot the CM… a person who doesn’t have 10 MLAs. who rebelled. He has betrayed the party, (he is) a traitor,” Mr Gehlot, 71, said, escalating a row by threatening to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s trip to Rajasthan.
“This must be a first for India that a party president tried to topple his own government,” Mr Gehlot said of Mr Pilot’s 2020 rebellion, alleging that it was “financed by the BJP” and enabled by senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah.
Mr Gehlot also said the Congress could replace him with any of its 102 MLAs in Rajasthan but for Mr Pilot.
“The MLAs will never accept a person who has rebelled and is called a traitor. How can he be the Chief Minister? How can the MLAs accept such a person as the Chief Minister? I have proof that Rs 10 crore was distributed to each. The Congress government in Rajasthan. The MLAs were holed up in a resort in Gurugram for the fall,” Mr Gehlot told NDTV.
Mr Pilot, who had joined Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on the earlier day’s yatra, remarked that Mr Gehlot had called him “nikamma (incompetent)” in the past before calling him a “traitor”.
“We have to fight unitedly against the BJP at a time when these allegations are false and completely unnecessary… It is unnecessary for such a senior leader to say such things at such a time,” he said, adding that someone so senior should focus on the Gujarat elections. where he is in charge of publicity.