Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot
Rahul Gandhi and Sachin Pilot

If Congress sources are to believed, then Rahul Gandhi has kept his door opened to estranged party leader Sachin Pilot, who was sacked from his position of Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister on Wednesday.

According to an NDTV report, the sources said that Gandhi was ‘keen on opening doors’ with Pilot, after the latter on Wednesday made it clear that he would not be joining the BJP.

"I am not joining the BJP. I would like to make it clear that I have no plans to join the BJP. The BJP link is an attempt to malign me in the eyes of the Gandhis," Pilot said, adding that he was still a member of the Congress party.

Congress chief spokesperson and firefighter Randeep Singh Surjewala, in turn, asked Pilot and his supporters, at a press conference in Jaipur, to spurn the hospitality of Haryana chief minister Manoharlal Khattar of the BJP and return home as "parivar sadasya (member of the family)." (Pilot’s brigade is ensconced in a hotel in Haryana)

However, party sources said, chief minister Ashok Gehlot is playing hardball and has conveyed that he won’t allow Pilot to return as the deputy chief minister or as the PCC president. Going on the offensive, Gehlot claimed to have proof of Pilot's role in horse-trading. "We have proof of horse-trading: Rs 20 crore was offered. Those who took the money are holed up at the hotel in Manesar. Our deputy chief minister and PCC chief (Pilot) himself was negotiating the deal and, at the same time, giving statements that no horse-trading was on. What clarifications are you giving when you yourself were involved in it," Gehlot charged.

Sources said Gehlot was miffed when AICC general secretary K C Venugopal conveyed a message from the Gandhi family, asking him to bury the hatchet. Holding his ground, Geholt responded that he had expected that the leadership would immediately expel Pilot for his "anti-party" activities.

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