On Monday night, Congress general secretary-in-charge KC Venugopal had a long telephone conversation with Sachin Pilot – their third such conversation since May 29, when the party leadership managed to sit together to push Pilot and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. the difference
The meeting ended without the party being able to announce a peace formula.
On Tuesday, as news began to circulate that Pilot might announce a new party in the poll-bound state, the Congress seemed no closer to finding a way to accept the young leader’s three key demands without antagonizing the chief minister or discrediting his government.
Sources close to the Pilot camp have denied reports that he will throw a party on June 11, which marks the death anniversary of his father and late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot. They also suggested that news in this regard is being spread by the Gehlot camp.
However, no official statement was received from the pilot or his supporters in this regard.
Sources said the high command wants to meet the pilot at least halfway, but its task has been complicated by the former deputy CM’s insistence that Gehlot accept all his demands — a high-level probe into alleged corruption cases against the previous Bashundhara Raje government, to be dismantled. of the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (which has seen question paper leaks in several exams), its restructuring through a new law and compensation for students affected by question paper leaks.
The Gehlot side believes that accepting these demands will show his government in a bad light months before the elections, especially with Pilot’s allegations that investigations into cases related to the Raje government have been deliberately delayed.
However, Pilot is also coming under pressure from his supporters as his demands are not seeing any progress and the 15-day deadline for the Congress government is running out. Against this backdrop, speculations are rife that he will announce his next move on June 11.
According to sources close to Pilot, a plan B to quit Congress and create a separate outfit has been in his head for months. Pilot is believed to have recently hired political consultancy firm I-Pac as part of this. Sources said two I-Pac executives assigned to him made the proposal to form a team.
Some AICC leaders felt that his specific demands, the day-long sit-in (against the high command’s wishes) and the five-day yatra were all part of this larger plan.
However, the pilot threw it back after the AICC reached him.
Most top leaders also believe that the pilot, in his heart of hearts, does not want to leave the team. Sources close to him say he would be happier if the high command finds a way to get Gehlot to accept his demands and is still optimistic that this will happen.
Sources in the high command said the leadership was surprised by the reports of his plans to leave and saw the fact that the pilot chose not to deny the reports as another way of putting pressure on him.
Asked if he thought the pilot was floating a trial balloon, a senior leader said: “We are engaged in discussions with him. Now how can I tell if he is deliberately spreading this (about his departure) or if it is the hand of another camp. As far as we are concerned, we are working towards a solution.”
Meanwhile, Rajasthan AICC in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa arrived in Jaipur on a four-day visit on Tuesday evening. He told The Indian Express that he had a conversation with the pilot four-five days ago and had no knowledge of his plans.
Speaking to reporters, Radhawa said: “I am hearing this (Pilot’s plan for the new party) from you. Nothing like that. Na hi unka pehle man tha, na hi ab maan hai (He didn’t want it before, he doesn’t want it yet).
He added: “I am here to meet MLAs and all those leaders who want to meet me. I will meet everyone.”