In fast-paced developments on Tuesday, Sachin Pilot was removed from the post of PCC chief and Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan. The decision was unanimously taken at the Congress Legislature Party meeting at the hotel where MLAs supporting Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot have been put up. All the MLAs raised their hands to support the resolution. Gehlot later met Governor Kalraj Mishra and sought time for cabinet expansion.
The meeting was started around an hour later than the scheduled 10 am. Reportedly, the delay was deliberate as they waited for Sachin Pilot and his supporters to join the meet. Sachin however did not come but his supporters kept posting messages on social media. The messages were against Gehlot and the Congress’s claim of having other MLAs on board. Prominent among those posting messages were Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Meena, and President Rajasthan Yuva Cong Sumit Bhagasara. The three were removed from the posts.
Randeep Singh Surjewala communicated the ouster to the media. He announced the appointment of primary education minister Govind Singh Dotasara as the new PCC chief. He also announced removing Youth Congress President and Seva Dal President. Surjewala announced that MLA Ganesh Ghoghra would be new state president of Youth Congress and Hem Singh Shekhawat was made Seva Dal chief.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot left the hotel immediately after the CLP meeting and reached Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Kalraj Mishra. Speaking to the media, Gehlot said. “Sachin Pilot is playing into the hands of the BJP. The resort and police security at the resort have been arranged by BJP in Haryana where Khattar is the Chief Minister. His demand for a floor test is ample proof he is being guided by BJP because as an MLA of Congress he would have raised the demand of having no fath in the CM within party on adequate forum.”
Gehlot added, “I did not complain to the high command to remove him. The high command gave him ample opportunity to talk and sort out his issues, but his attitude was akin to ‘aa bail mukje maar’ (a phrase for self damaging). No one is happy with the decision not even high command.”
"High command was compelled to take the decision because since a long time BJP was conspiring and resorting to horse-trading. We knew it was a big conspiracy; now some of our friends went astray because of it and went to Delhi," he said.
Soon after the announcement Pilot’s name plate was removed from his office at PCC and a Dotasara’s name was put there. Several photographs of Pilot were also removed. Earlier in the day, a letter signed by Vishvendra Singh, Ramesh Meena and former speaker Deependra Singh was also released on Pilot’s media group. It went on to say for years they had worked with dedication, devotion and service for the party and they were taking a stand to protect their dignity and self respect. They said they were upset with the SOG notice to Pilot and found public humiliation of Pilot unacceptable. They said they have many posts and are not lured by posts and positions. Last night also a video was released by the Pilot camp. It showed around 17 MLAs at a resort in Manesar.
A high alert was sounded in Rajasthan to avert a law and order situation. Districts like Dausa, Bhilwara, Alwar, Karauli, Bharatpur and Tonk with a sizeable population of Gurjar community, to which Pilot belongs, might witnsess resistance.
A meeting was held at state BJP office to deliberate on the political developments in the state. State president Satish Poonia, generl secretary organisation Chandrashekhar, national joint secretary V Satish, leader of opposition Gulab Chand Kataria and deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathod were present. Reacting to the developments and Gehlot’s statements, BJP chief Satish Poonia said that this was an effort to malign the BJP. He said that the days of Gehlot government are numbered.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan NSUI president Abhimanyu Poonia on Tuesday also tendered his resignation.