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As the chorus in Sachin Pilot camp grows louder for him to take over as Rajasthan's Chief Minister, the current CM, Ashok Gehlot, on Thursday called his former deputy a "gaddar" (traitor) and said that a traitor is not suitable for the top post.
In an interview with NDTV, the Rajasthan CM said, "A gaddar (traitor) cannot be a chief minister. The high command cannot make Sachin Pilot the chief minister, a man who doesn't have 10 MLAs. Who revolted. He betrayed the party, (he) is a traitor."
CM Gehlot and Pilot have been at loggerheads for a long time, triggering two political crises in four years of the Congress government.
Gehlot claimed Pilot's 2020 revolt was "funded by the BJP".
"In a first for India, a party's own president tried to bring it down," Gehlot said in the interview, adding that senior BJP leaders, including Amit Shah, enabled the revolt.
This is not the first time that Gehlot has expressed his dislike for Pilot in such words. During Pilot's rebellion, the CM slammed the former deputy CM by calling him "nikamma" and "nakara" (useless and worthless).
Meanwhile, Pilot on Wednesday distanced himself from a threat by a Gurjar outfit to disrupt the Bharat Jodo Yatra if its demand to make him the Rajasthan CM is not accepted and instead accused the BJP of trying to create "disturbances".
Gurjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti leader Vijay Singh Bainsla has threatened to oppose Rahul Gandhi's yatra in the state unless his demands, including making Pilot a prominent face from the community, the chief minister are accepted.
Bainsla has also accused the Congress government of not fulfilling the promises made to the community.
"No matter how hard the BJP tries, the yatra will be successful," Pilot said when asked about Bainsla's threat.
"The BJP may try to create disturbances...but it is 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' and it will be successful. We will all welcome the yatra with unity," he said outside the party's war room, where a meeting has been convened to review preparations for the foot march.
Rajasthan faced a political crisis in September this year when about 90 party MLAs from the Gehlot faction skipped the Congress Legislature Party meeting where they were expected to pass a one-line resolution giving the party high command the right to pick the next CM. It is said that Pilot was the party's choice for the Rajasthan CM as Gehlot was slated to contest for the Congress president's post.
However, Gehlot's loyalists rebelled by skipping the CLP meeting and submitting their resignations to the Rajasthan Speaker, C P Joshi.
Following this, Gehlot said he would not contest the Congress presidential election and apologised to the party president Sonia Gandhi for the chaos.
With PTI inputs
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First Published: Thu, November 24 2022. 18:38 IST