I’m not joining BJP, those saying so are trying to lower me in Gandhis’ eyes, says Sachin Pilot

I’m not joining BJP, those saying so are trying to lower me in Gandhis’ eyes, says Sachin Pilot

Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, who was removed as the president of Congress’ state unit on Tuesday, said that he is not going to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The pilot told me that “I am not joining BJP. Those saying that are just trying to lower me in Gandhis’ eyes,”

Sachin Pilot also denied colluding with the BJP to conspire against the Congress.

The pilot also canceled a press conference scheduled for today.

The Congress had removed Pilot as Rajasthan Congress chief on Tuesday. He was also dropped by chief minister Ashok Gehlot from the cabinet after a meeting of the Congress’ legislative party (CLP). Also removed along with him from the cabinet were food and civil supplies minister Ramesh Meena and tourism minister Vishvendra Singh.

Rajasthan education minister Govind Singh Dotasra was named the new Congress chief in Rajasthan. The party also sacked Mukesh Bhakar and Rakesh Pareek as presidents of frontal organizations Youth Congress and Sewa Dal.

Rajasthan has been facing a political crisis after Pilot, along with his supporters, left the state leaving the Congress government led by Gehlot in a lurch. The pilot claimed that after his leaving, the Gehlot government has come in minority and sought a floor test.

The grand old party immediately deputed to senior leaders to resolve the crisis and bring Pilot and the other rebels back into the fold. But all the efforts were futile and Pilot did not attend the two CLP meetings called by the party on Monday and Tuesday.

Responding to the rebellion, Congress dismissed Pilot as deputy chief minister, sacked him as the state unit president of the party, removed two of his loyalists from the cabinet, accused his camp of “conspiring” with the BJP to destabilize the government, and contended that its government has numbers.

On Tuesday, 101 legislators - in an assembly of 200 - attended the CLP meeting at the Fairmont hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur, which included 10 independent legislators and two from Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) and one from the Communist Party of India (Marxist); the other CPIM legislator was unwell. However, in the afternoon, the two BTP legislators left the hotel, and went home, saying they would take a call on supporting a political party at an “appropriate” time.

Pilot’s camp claimed to have the support of 22 legislators, including three independents, also said that six other legislators would join it soon, and rejected Gehlot’s claims of being in a majority.