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Rajasthan elections: Congress promises to fight the polls unitedly after strategy meeting in Delhi, Sachin Pilot says party has accepted his demands

am happy that the AICC has taken cognizance and prepared a blueprint to take action on the issues,” Sachin Pilot said after the meeting in Delhi

Political parties in Rajasthan have got the ball rolling for the upcoming Assembly elections this year. A key meeting was chaired at the Congress HQ presided by Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi along with 30 leaders from the state to take stock of poll preparedness. CM Gehlot and rebel leader Sachin Pilot were also present.

A key meeting was chaired at the Cong HQ preceded by Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi along with 30 leaders from Rajasthan to take stock of poll preparedness. (Source: ANI)

The meeting comes following a tug of war for months between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former deputy CM Sachin Pilot. AICC in charge of Rajasthan Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was also present in the meeting.

Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal in a post-meet briefing said that the party will unitedly fight the polls. The party will announce the list of candidates in the first week of September.

Even as Venugopal said that it has been decided in the meeting that strict discipline must be followed and internal issues should not be outed, the very leadership of the Congress-led Rajasthan govt has already washed its dirty laundry in public.

“The party has decided that everyone should follow strict discipline. Any issues are to be discussed within the party, and no one has the freedom to speak about the party’s internal politics outside the party. Strict disciplinary action will be taken against those who violate this,” Venugopal said.

However, the party refrained from naming a CM candidate for the polls. In the press conference with AICC in-charge of Rajasthan Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and state Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra, KC Venugopal dodged the question about who would be the party’s candidate for chief minister. “You know our history. We never announce a chief ministerial candidate. But we will fight together in the elections. There is a government, a good government which is doing good work… That work will give results,” he said.

Going by the video of the meeting posted by Congress, there seems to be an attempt to show that all is well between Gehlot, who attended the meeting over video conference, and Pilot as the two appeared to share a laugh. Sachin Pilot was seen sitting next to Rahul Gandhi.

Gehlot was advised to rest by doctors after he fractured his left toe a few days ago, therefore he joined the meeting virtually.

But the several attacks and counter-attacks between the two leaders have revealed their deeply-entrenched political aspirations which will only grow come the state polls. Reportedly, Sachin Pilot said that if he has to participate in the Congress campaigning in Rajasthan, he needs to be given a respectable position in the party. It is learnt that he also reiterated his demand for probe into alleged corruption cases during the Vasundhara Raje government, and demanded that party leaders should not speak outside party forums.

As per reports, the party leadership assured him that the Ashok Gehlot govt will be directed to act on his demands.

Meanwhile, Sachin Pilot after the meeting said that there is no question of a split and there is only Rahul Gandhi-Mallikarjun Kharge group in the Congress party. He said that the party will contest the election unitedly.

Talking about his demands, Pilot said that all the issues were discussed with open mind, the issues that he had raised publicly like the issue of paper leaks, how to reform our public service commission, issues of corruption of the previous government etc. “I am happy that the AICC has taken cognizance and prepared a blueprint to take action on the issues,” he said.

Affirming his loyalty to the party, Sachin Pilot said, “I have fulfilled all the responsibilities that the party has given me in the past, be it at the Centre and in the state. In the future too, I will abide by the directions of the party.”

Rahul Gandhi seemed to have taken the side of Pilot, as he reportedly raised the issue of corruption. He told the CM that while the govt is doing good work, the impression that bureaucrats were running the show needed to be addressed. He also said that SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities not getting enough representation in the government and share in power, and this needed to be corrected.

In a tweet, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party will unite and go among the public in the upcoming elections.

Hectic parlays are also underway in the BJP. Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today cut short her visit to Kota and rushed to Delhi for a high-level meeting. This has sparked rumours that Raje may be given a big responsibility. Notably, Raje has recently been quite active in campaigning for the upcoming polls.

Even as the Congress convinces its state leadership and voter base with talks of unity, the BJP seems to have formulated its fundamental poll strategy for Rajasthan. The BJP recently formed a “Vijay Sankalp team” which will be led by Rajasthan BJP Chief CP Joshi. Both Vasundhara Raje and CP Joshi will be part of a key meeting in Delhi on 7th July.

On 30th June, Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Udaipur launched back-to-back attacks on the Gehlot govt over the issues of corruption, breakdown of law and order, terrorism, and the murder of Kanhaiyalal.

He said that had the Congress govt in the state formed a special court as required, Kanhaiyalal’s murderers would have been hanged by now.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had recently filed a criminal defamation case against Gehlot in the alleged Sanjeevani scam case. Gehlot has been summoned by a Special MP-MLA court on August 7.

Meanwhile PM Modi is scheduled to visit Bikaner, Rajasthan on 8th July, Saturday.

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