Amid speculation over cabinet reshuffle and political appointments in Rajasthan, former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi here on Friday and expressed confidence that a decision on it will be taken “very soon” keeping in mind factors such as credibility, performance, regional balance and caste combination.
His nearly hour-long meeting came a day after Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot met Gandhi here and the two leaders are learnt to have discussed the political situation as well as the impending cabinet reshuffle in the state.
Speaking with reporters after meeting Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence, Pilot said, “Whatever the Congress party wants me to do, I am more than happy to do. In the last 20 years, whatever job has been assigned, I have done it diligently and now also whatever the party decides, what role I should have…I am happy to do it.”
“Extensive discussions took place about Rajasthan, about the government, party organisation, and I put forward my points about the political situation in the state. I am happy that the Congress president is constantly taking interest in Rajasthan and is taking feedback about the work of the government and on the organisation,” Pilot said.
He said the committee that Sonia Gandhi had formed to look into the issues raised by him about a year ago has also competed its work, and general secretary organisation K C Venugopal along with AICC general secretary in-charge Ajay Maken have been submitting reports from time to time.
“The party high command is also talking about taking action on the points we had put forward last year and I think very soon decisions will be taken on it,” he said.
Pilot for long has been demanding that cabinet expansion should happen and appointments to boards and corporations in the state be made soon. He has been asserting that Congress workers and leaders working closely with him for the party should be given their dues.
On being asked that over a year has passed and decision on cabinet expansion and political appointments has not been taken, he said the decisions were delayed and cited the coronavirus pandemic as a reason.
“I think whatever changes that need to be made in the government and organisation, the AICC and the chief minister will decide at an appropriate time. But I believe that now less than two years time is left in the next election and we want to fight the next election with full force because there has always been a custom that for five years there is a Congress government in Rajasthan, and then for five years there is a BJP government,” he said.
“This time we want to prepare the organisation very strongly. The workers should get respect, everyone’s participation is important, there should be balance in power, and we should move forward taking all sections of the society along,” he said. Pilot asserted that the tradition of alternating governments of the Congress and the BJP has to be broken.
“The Lok Sabha elections will be held in 2024, so it is necessary to repeat the government in Rajasthan. I think that if the government and the organisation work strongly, then surely we will be able to do it,” he said. Pilot also dismissed talk of a divide within the Rajasthan Congress, saying there is no “tera-mera” or groupism which the media has been talking about as “we all belong to the Congress”. “We won on the symbol of the party and this is not the time for ‘tera-mera’, we are moving together in Rajasthan. As I said there are some posts vacant in the government and balance has to be maintained, they have to be filled to set the balance in the government,” he said.
The party will take a decision very soon keeping in mind experience, credibility, performance, regional balance and caste combination, he asserted. “I have full confidence, I had a good discussion with Sonia ji. I think she is understanding the issues and is getting the feedback and a decision will be taken at the right time,” he said.
A major reshuffle is on the cards in Rajasthan in the next few days and various modalities are being worked out by adopting the “one man, one post” formula while considering appointments in the cabinet, according to sources. Pilot and the MLAs supporting him had revolted against Gehlot last year over his style of functioning, after which Pilot was removed from the posts of the state party chief and the Rajasthan deputy chief minister.
Subsequently, Pilot reconciled and a committee was formed by Gandhi to look into the issues raised by Pilot and his supporters. Gehlot had met Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra along with AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Ajay Maken and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, at Rahul Gandhi’s residence here on Wednesday night and held lengthy discussions on the cabinet reshuffle in the state.