Responding to claims by some BJP leaders that the party has reached out to him, former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot Friday said that the BJP doesn’t have the courage to speak with him.
“Maine bhi suna hai. Rita Bahuguna Joshi ne jo kaha ki Sachin se baat kari hai, ho sakta hai unhone Sachin Tendulkar se baat kari ho. Mere se baat karne ki himmat nahi hai (I have also heard this. Rita Bahuguna Joshi has said that she has spoken with Sachin, it is possible that (she) has spoken with Sachin Tendulkar. (she) doesn’t have the courage to speak with me),” said Pilot as he rubbished claims of him jumping the ship.
Pilot made these comments at a protest in Jaipur in response to a question from mediaperons about BJP leader Joshi’s claim that he was not comfortable in the Congress and may join the BJP soon.
The Rajasthan Pradesh Congress committee has given a state-wide protest call against the central government over rising fuel prices.
At the protest site in Jaipur where Pilot was present, many of his loyalists and supporters, including some of the MLAs who took his side during the political crisis in Rajasthan last year, were present.
Pilot’s assertion on Friday that he is not in talks with the BJP comes in wake of former Congress heavyweight in Uttar Pradesh Jitin Prasada joining the saffron party recently. Joshi herself too had switched to the BJP a few years ago after being in the Congress for more than two decades.
Ever since the defection of senior Congress leaders such as Jyotiraditya Scindia and Prasada to the BJP, speculations have been rife about Pilot, who had a public spat with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last year, when he took off with 18 of his loyalist MLAs and camped in Haryana and Delhi for over a month. A political crisis ensued and Pilot was removed as the state’s Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress president.
Even though a truce was brokered by the Congress high command between the two and a committee was formed in August last year to address the issues and grievances raised by Pilot and his supporters, not much has come out of it even after almost a year has passed since its formation.
In recent times, MLAs who are loyalists of Pilot have repeatedly reiterated that they want the committee to take a speedy decision. Pilot has also said that there is no reason for further delay by the committee in taking the requisite action in matters such as political appointments and cabinet expansion.