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Pilot Slams CM Gehlot Over Corruption in Rajasthan, Declares Hunger Strike

Pilot had levelled corruption charges against the previous BJP government, when Congress was in the opposition.

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In a fresh attack on Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot alleged in a press conference on Sunday, 9 April, that he has repeatedly appealed to Gehlot to act on the allegations against the previous Vasundhara Raje government, but received no reply.

In view of this, Pilot has announced that he will sit on a one-day fast against corruption on 11 April. Hours after Pilot's presser, the Congress party released a statement praising CM Gehlot and his administration.

What Pilot Said?

"Due to inaction by Ashok Gehlot government against corruption cases during Vasundhara Raje regime, our opponents can question whether they are hand in gloves,” said the Congress MLA in the press conference, right on the heels of elections in the state.

"I think we should walk the talk and I wrote to Gehlot ji almost 1.5 years ago that it is time to probe the allegations that we levelled against the BJP government. The Congress should show to the people that there is no gap between our words and action," he added.

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Pilot also mentioned the upcoming state elections, scheduled for December this year, and how action must be taken by the Gehlot government before that.

“We being in the opposition had promised that an inquiry would be conducted. Now 6-7 months are left for the election, and we should take before that,” Pilot said.

When he was the state party chief from 2013 and 2018 and the Congress was in Opposition, Pilot had levelled corruption charges against Raje's government.

Action vs Words?

During the press conference, he said that he first wrote the letter on 28 March last year and then again on 2 November but no action was taken.

While the Centre is misusing the ED, CBI to target the Congress leadership, the Rajasthan government is not even using its agencies, Pilot added that he wants this to come to public domain.

"Public and the Congress leaders should not think that there is a difference between our kathni and karni," he said.

Pilot also said that both he and Gehlot levelled the corruption allegations against Raje together and added:

"If it comes out in the investigation that no one was guilty, then we will accept that Gehlot Ji and I were liars. But until a case is registered, how will people believe that the allegations made by us are true or false?"

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Congress Releases Statement Praising Gehlot's Work

The Congress party released a statement in praise of CM Gehlot and his work, hours after Pilot's press conference.

"The Congress government in Rajasthan with Shri Ashok Gehlot as CM has implemented a large number of schemes and taken many new initiatives that have impacted the people profoundly. This has given the state a leadership position in governance in our country," the statement, issued by Jairam Ramesh, Congress' Communications General Secretary said.

"The Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan was an outstanding success made possible by the dedication and determination of the party organisation in the state," the statement further said.

This made it clear that the Congress high command isn't endorsing Pilot's attack on Gehlot, and for the time being, has chosen to side with the

"Later in the year, the Congress will seek a renewed mandate from the people on the strength of these landmark achievements and the collective efforts of our organisation," the statement read.

Manufactured Allegations With Eye On Elections: BJP

Interestingly, Pilot's press conference was followed a few hours later by a press meet by BJP leader Rajyavardhan Rathore, who hit out on the Congress government for the Barmer rape incident and accused them of inaction.

He also questioned Pilot's attack on Gehlot, where he has insinuated the CM being hand in glove with Vasundra Raje.

Rathore called these "manufactured allegations", being raked up "with elections round the corner."

Hours after Pilot's attack on Gehlot, the fissures within the Congress party were once again, visible.

Pratap Khachariyawas, cabinet minister in the Gehlot government, and a Pilot loyalist, spoke up in support of the former deputy CM.

"Sachin Pilot is an asset to the party, if he is asking any questions, it must be respected. He has the right to raise issues. In a democratic party, everybody has the right to raise their voice. If I have to fight against BJP's corruption, I'm ready," Khachariyawas told ANI.

This is not the first time that Pilot has attacked Gehlot, with whom he has been in a power tussle ever since the Congress came into power in the state in 2018. In January this year, he had questioned why the Congress government in Rajasthan has not taken action against BJP leaders involved in corruption.

Earlier, last year, Pilot had been demanding action against Gehlot by the Congress high command on indiscipline allegations when leaders of the Gehlot camp were a no-show in a legislative party meet called by Sonia Gandhi.

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Topics:  Sachin Pilot   CM Ashok Gehlot 

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