A day after Congress leadership brought the bitter feud between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot to an end, there was a flurry of activity in the Rajasthan units of the party.
While Pilot reached Jaipur on Tuesday after more than a month to a rousing welcome by his supporters, Gehlot went to Jaisalmer to meet and talk to the MLAs staying put at Hotel Suryagarh.
There were reports about resentment among them at the rebel group being accepted back into the party fold. They have expressed the opinion that this will encourage rebellion in the party in order to push demands.
Speaking to the media Gehlot said, “We have foiled the BJP’s conspiracy to topple the government. The government will last for full five years and we will come back to power in 2023. The government was in majority yesterday, is today and will continue to be in majority tomorrow also.”
Speculation is rife among the Congress rank and file about the supposed deal has been worked out by party high command with Pilot. When asked about this Gehlot said, “That is for high command to know. A three member committee has been formed, if there are any grievances, they will tell.”
“I am the chief minister and if anyone is angry it is my responsibility to make his satisfied again. I have done this earlier and will continue to do it in future all my life,” said Gehlot.
“100 MLAs stood firm for so long and did not fall to temptation or pressure. There was horse trading, pressure through agencies, but not one MLA succumbed. I told them that you have created history. It is now my duty to be a guardian to all of you," he added.
On the other hand Pilot reached his official residence in Jaipur late in the afternoon to an enthusiastic welcome by his supporters. They also raised slogans in his support.
Issuing a restrained statement similar to what he had said on Monday after his meeting with Priyanka Gandhi, Pilot rubbished claim that he had presented a set of demands. “I have not put forth any demands to the party high command. I feel that whoever contributed to forming a government should get respect,” Pilot said.
Pilot also said that all expenses of the MLAs stay and other legal expenditures have been borne by the MLAs themselves.
Three independent MLAs, Khushveeer Singh, Om Prakash Hudla and Suresh Tank who had been de-affiliated from the Congress on Tuesday met Chief Minister Gehlot at his official residence.
The meeting was being seen as a reconciliation move. It was alleged that the three had been touring South Rajasthan districts to offer money to Congress MLAs and seek their help in toppling the government.
There is despondency in the Bahujan Sanaj Party (BSP) and among independents as they feel that with the return of Pilot and his supporters into the party, chances of them getting ministerial berths have become reduced.