Congressional leader Sachin Pilot, in the spotlight after his former colleague Jitin Prasada crossed for the BJP, today rejected a BJP leader’s comment that he would be next. He also denied having received any temptation from the BJP.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi, leader of Congress for 25 years before joining the BJP, was quoted as saying that she had spoken with Sachin Pilot and that he would join the BJP soon.
“Rita Bahuguna Joshi said she talked to Sachin. She may have talked to Sachin Tendulkar. She doesn’t have the heart to talk to me,” Pilot told reporters who asked him to respond to Joshi saying he was “uncomfortable” in Congress.
Jitin Prasada left Congress on Wednesday saying he no longer felt he could function or help people in that party and describing the BJP as the “only national party” in the country today.
Speculation about Pilot’s departure persisted long after he was persuaded by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to end his revolt last year against Rajasthan’s chief minister, Ashok Gehlot.
The former deputy chief minister wants greater participation in the government of Rajasthan and the party organization, but Ashok Gehlot has resisted such moves so far.
MLAs close to Pilot signaled delays in cabinet expansion and Gehlot’s appointments.
Mr. Pilot recently reminded the party of his assurance that he would review their demands. While persuading him to end his rebellion, the leadership also set up a committee to suggest a course correction in Rajasthan.
“It’s been 10 months. I was told there would be quick action on the part of the committee, but now half the term is over and these issues have not been resolved. It’s a pity that so many of the party workers who worked and gave everything to get us the mandate is not being heard,” Pilot told the Hindustan Times on Monday.
When Jitin Prasada left two days later, Congress said of Mr. Pilot: “There has to be a turnaround time. Sachin Pilot has to be patient.”
The three-member panel appointed to deal with Pilot’s demands has not met since August of last year, sources say.
In the Congressional stalemate in Rajasthan, Mr. Pilot, along with his supporting MLAs, left Jaipur and camped near Delhi for weeks.
Mr. Gehlot won the battle of nerves, claiming just enough MLA support to stay in power. Mr. Pilot finally announced his return to Rajasthan after the Gandhis allegedly assured him that his grievances would be resolved.