After PM Modi’s dig, Sachin Pilot speaks up on Ashok Gehlot feud: ‘Forget and…’


Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, campaigning for the upcoming Rajasthan assembly election, took an indirect jibe at chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress leader Sachin Pilot, claiming that the two political rivals from within the grand old party have shaken hands a hundred times in the last five years but there has been no reconciliation between them.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and party leader Sachin Pilot during ‘Congress Guarantee Rally’ in Churu district on November 16. (PTI)

Referring to the power tussle between Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, Modi on Sunday said, “In cricket, a batter comes and scores runs for his team. But there is so much infighting within the Congress that instead of scoring runs, its leaders spent five years trying to run out each other.”

When asked about the feud between the two top leaders in the poll-bound state, Pilot, however, tried to downplay it saying “it is in the past”.

“We met (Congress president Mallikarjun) Kharge and (Rahul) Gandhi… the party took cognisance (of my concerns)… The party high command told me to forgive and forget, and move on,” NDTV quoted the former Rajasthan deputy chief minister as saying.

“My focus now is to work together… there is no personal animosity. We haven’t won consecutive elections in Rajasthan for 30 years. Why? We need to introspect on this,” Pilot was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, in an interview with news agency PTI, Pilot said he was working in Rajasthan with the mantra of “forgive, forget and move on” as advised by Kharge and Rahul Gandhi.

Asked about Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s past barbs such as ‘nikamma’ directed at him, Pilot said, “Leave it! Who said what… I can be responsible for what I have said or not said. We should maintain dignity in political discussions.”

“Whoever said all those words you mentioned, I did not respond in kind because it is not the way I am built and we now have to move on, let bygones be bygones, whatever was said, we need to forget and move forward. It is not about individuals or positions or someone’s statements now. It is about the country and the party,” PTI quoted Pilot as saying.

Asked about the rebellion he led against the government led by Gehlot in 2020 and the events of September last year when Gehlot loyalist did not allow a legislature party meeting to take place, Pilot said the issues that he raised in 2020 were important for the party and people.

Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan

The feud between Gehlot and Pilot reached its boiling point in July 2020, when the latter went off with 18 of his faithful MLAs and camped in Haryana and Delhi, causing the Gehlot government to face a serious political crisis, as per the Indian Express report. Pilot was later fired from both positions by the party’s leadership.

Earlier this year, Gehlot accused the Pilot group of conspiring with the Bharatiya Janata Party to destabilise his government. The Pilot faction responded with its own set of accusations.

In November last year, Gehlot had openly labelled Pilot a “traitor” and claimed that the latter could not succeed him as chief minister. Even the Congress was taken aback by Gehlot’s tirade on his former deputy, Pilot was described as a “youthful, energetic, popular, and charismatic leader” by the grand old party, which dubbed the chief minister’s attack “unexpected.”

Around a month before that, Gehlot and his supporters successfully thwarted a Congress proposal to move the chief minister to Delhi as party president and make Pilot the chief minister of Rajasthan.


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