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Published On: Mon, Aug 10th, 2020

Sachin Pilot meets Rahul Gandhi and falls in line

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sachin gandhiNEW DELHI: Amid efforts to bring rebel Rajasthan leader Sachin Pilot and his supporters back into the party fold, the sulking leader met Rahul Gandhi at his residence on Monday and a rapprochement seems to have been arrived at, top Congress sources said.
According to 10 Janpath sources, after Pilot met Rahul Gandhi at his residence, they again met in presence of party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and then, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi drove to 10 Janpath the residence of interim party chief Sonia Gandhi, where all three held discussions.

Running out of options ahead of the state Assembly session on August 14, with some of his camp followers reaching out to CM Gehlot expressing their desire to return home, Pilot met central party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. Sachin Pilot Set To Fly Back To Congress?
Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra ruled out any possibility of a leadership change in the state , telling reporters that Gehlot will “remain chief minister for five years.”

The meeting between Sachin Pilot and the Gandhi siblings came on a very interesting day. Sonia Gandhi has completed a year as interim president and will continue till a permanent chief is found.
This development came even as clamor for Rahul Gandhi to return as president is growing. Rahul Gandhi taking the lead to broker peace with Pilot will now be pitched as his leadership should the storm subside in Rajasthan.
Sonia Gandhi has had a fairly successful reign as president as she brought her party to power twice and her style of consensus, rather than confrontation, had helped soothe many ego clashes in the party. Unfortunately, the perception stuck to Rahul that he could not keep the party together.
If the Ashok Gehlot-Pilot rift ends, this is what will change. The Congress and the perception which will be built is that Rahul managed to stem the rot in Rajasthan. More importantly, if and when he takes charge as party president, he needs a young, no baggage team. A leader like Pilot staying back will help Rahul’s image.
Sources say both Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi told Pilot that they understand his frustration but that nothing should be done to embolden the BJP. Pilot was assured that charges against his MLAs will be dropped, he would be given an honorable face-saver and that the future would be his.
Linked to Pilot’s future is the future of Rahul and the team he builds. The message is also to seniors like Gehlot that while they are powerful and important, the adjustment with the young is critical.
The ambiguity which existed during Rahul’s first term as president, where the Congress was caught between his and Sonia’s team, will have to pave the way for a clear direction. And this is possible when Rahul calls the shots and sends the message that the buck stops with him.
Sachin Pilot met with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today for the first time since he launched his revolt a month ago, calling a truce to end the Rajasthan Congress government’s survival crisis. The terms for Sachin Pilot’s “homecoming” along with 18 other rebels were discussed at a meeting at Rahul Gandhi’s home, after which the Congress put out a statement confirming the breakthrough.
Sachin Pilot “expressed his grievances in detail” to the Gandhis and they had a “frank, open and conclusive discussion,” said senior Congress leader KC Venugopal.
“Sachin Pilot has committed to working in the interest of the Congress party and the Congress government in Rajasthan,” he said, adding that Congress President Sonia Gandhi has decided that a three-member committee would address the issues raised by Mr Pilot and the other rebels.
The rapprochement came to pass just four days before a special session of the Rajasthan assembly, where Ashok Gehlot was expected to push for a trust vote to prove his majority and outmaneuver Mr Pilot, whom he had accused of collaborating with the BJP to topple his government. “I had maintained from Day One that I would never join the BJP. I stand vindicated today,” Mr Pilot told Newstrack24x7.com.
It is unclear whether Mr Pilot, who was sacked from his two posts in Rajasthan – Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress chief – will be reinstated as part of the “ghar-wapsi” formula. Congress sources indicated he may be “adjusted outside Rajasthan”. Removing Mr Gehlot as Chief Minister, which Mr Pilot has demanded all along, is also “out of the question”, leaders said.
The talks with the Gandhis, which lasted for about two-three hours, were described as “a meeting of minds” by Team Pilot. Sources say to enable the turnaround, Priyanka Gandhi met with Sachin Pilot two weeks back on neutral grounds in Delhi, after which talks were held at various levels.

In its truce attempts, the Congress leadership in Delhi may face a push-back from Rajasthan, where Congress MLAs hit out at Team Pilot’s “betrayal” in a meeting last night. A Congress Legislature Party meeting was held at a hotel in Jaisalmer where Mr Gehlot is guarding his flock after the Governor agreed to an assembly session from August 14.
The 19 rebels should not be allowed any homecoming, the Congress MLAs reportedly said. Mr Gehlot has been firmly against any outreach to the rebels, mainly Mr Pilot. But sources say the party’s top leadership spoke to him this morning.
(With Agency Inputs ).

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