Sachin Pilot removed as Deputy CM and Rajasthan Congress chief; supporters protest
Jaipur: Sachin Pilot and two other cabinet ministers – Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena – were removed as deputy chief minister and cabinet ministers respectively as the crisis in the state Congress deepened on Tuesday. The party also removed Pilot as the president of Pradesh Congress Committee. Pilot was replaced by Govind Singh Dotasara as the PCC chief.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot in a tweet congratulated Dotasara. He said, “I am sure under the guidance and able leadership of HCP Soniaji and Rahulji – you (Dotasara) will strengthen the organization and take everyone along”, indicating the support of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for himself.
Gehlot handed over the list of 104 MLAs to the Governor. He apprised the Governor of the decisions made during the Congress Legislator Party meeting.
The legislative party meeting was to begin at 10.30 am, but it was delayed for an hour. It was claimed that the MLAs were waiting for Pilot and his supporters to show up. Pilot camp, however, made it clear that they would not attend the meeting.
Senior Congress leaders and MLAs issued a joint statement in which they said that the public humiliation of Pilot was not acceptable.
“We have for years worked with dedication, devotion and service towards the party. And we are taking a stand to protect our dignity and self respect at a time when our leader is threatened with notices from the SOG under the charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy,” the statement said.
“This is unprecedented in Indian democracy and the Congress party, for whom we have toiled with sweat and blood. Under the leadership of Shri Sachin Pilot we have made every effort in the past 6 years to strengthen the party and bring it to power in Rajasthan at a time when it had been reduced to an insignificant number in the state assembly.”
“Public humiliation of our leader Mr. Pilot is something that is totally unacceptable to us, and those responsible for meeting out this treatment need to be made accountable. We are seeking to restore our self respect and are not clamouring for any posts and positions contrary to false reports in the media. We have been senior members of the party for many years and have held many positions within the party and government and are not lured by inducements”.
Senior BJP leader Om Mathur said that Pilot was welcome to join the BJP.
Sever Congress leaders in Tonk – the home constituency of Pilot – resigned and staged a protest. Pilot supporters demonstrated at several places in the state.