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Ashok Gehlot vs Sachin Pilot: CM Skips Queries on Tussle, Randhawa Meets Kharge

“Our mission is ‘mehangai rahat’, besides that we aren't looking left or right,” said Gehlot when asked about Pilot.

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As Sachin Pilot arrived in Delhi Wednesday morning and murmurs grew that the leader might hold a meeting with the Congress leadership, CM Ashok Gehlot prepared for his press conference scheduled for the afternoon. But hours before the press conference, Gehlot got into an awkward situation when at an official event, PM Narendra Modi took potshots at the CM’s “political turmoil.” Gehlot hit back at PM Modi later in a statement, criticising him for dismissing all the work done by the government prior to 2014.

However, at the actual press conference, which many thought would be the first time the CM addresses Pilot’s protest against him, Gehlot refrained from commenting on the issue.

“Our sole mission is ‘mehangai rahat’ (reducing inflation), besides that we aren't looking left or right,” Gehlot said, when asked about Pilot’s protest.

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Throughout the press conference, Gehlot stuck to promoting his newly launched ‘mehengai rahat camp’ scheme, ahead of the state elections scheduled for later this year. Gehlot underlined that this is part of the Congress’ ‘Mission 2030’ plan— a vow to make Rajasthan the number 1 state in the country by 2030.

“This is our ‘Mission 2030’. Now the people have to decide what they want to do. BJP does politics...if the (Rajasthan state) government changes, who knows if this scheme will remain or not. Earlier also when the BJP came to power they removed all our schemes,” Gehlot said.

Despite repeated questions on Pilot’s protest and allegations against the Gehlot government, the CM dodged the matter.

Modi's Jibe At Gehlot And The CM's Response

Earlier, on Wednesday morning, at an official event PM Modi took jibes at the ‘political turmoil’ that Gehlot is caught up in.

The event, marking the inauguration of the first Vande Bharat in Rajasthan, was done via zoom conferencing. PM Modi said that "I want to specifically thank Ashok Gehlot ji for showing up for developmental work and participating in this railways event despite being embroiled in a political turmoil and facing troubles. I welcome it and congratulate him for the same."

Earlier on in the event, Gehlot had brought up the issue of some “pending proposals” in various districts of the state. Responding to that, PM Modi said, “The work that should have been done soon after Independence, haven’t been done till now. But you have so much trust in me that you have kept this request to complete the work before me. This trust of yours is the proof of friendship. And, I express my gratitude to you for the trust you repose in me as a friend,” PM Modi said.

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Gehlot did not respond immediately to these remarks, but put out a statement after the event.

"It is you who has weakened the railways by first eliminating a separate Railway Budget. Modern trains are running today because Dr Manmohan Singh as the finance minister in 1991 opened doors for economic development," adding that "it is inappropriate to say that railways developed only after 2014."

"The speech was delivered keeping in mind the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2023-24 and was a part of the BJP agenda for the same. I believe that such claims will not be accepted by the people of the state and the country," Gehlot added.

AICC Rajasthan In-Charge Meets Congress President 

Meanwhile, in Delhi, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi were back from Wayanad early morning, but there was no meeting scheduled with Pilot.

Instead, the AICC Rajasthan in-charged Sukhjinder Randhawa met with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge at the latter’s residence. Sources told The Quint that Randhawa handed over a report on the Pilot issue to the party president.

“Our mission is ‘mehangai rahat’, besides that we aren't looking left or right,” said Gehlot when asked about Pilot.

Sukhjinder Randhawa leaving Kharge's residence. 

(Special Arrangement/ The Quint)

Randhawa had earlier released a statement on Monday night, the eve of Pilot’s protest, saying that any such protest will be deemed “anti-party.”

However, at the protest, Pilot refrained from speaking against the Congress, but limited his attack to the affairs of the Vasundhara Raje government. Randhawa has so far not hinted towards any disciplinary action against Pilot. Sources told The Quint that the party leadership cautioned Randhawa from taking any grave action immediately, as an abrasive one-on-one with Pilot might adversely impact the elections slated for later this year.

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