As the Rajasthan crisis remains unresolved even after Mallikarjun Kharge took charge as Congress president last month, a Gurjar leader, Vijay Singh Bainsla, has threatened to oppose Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Rajasthan unless Sachin Pilot is made the chief minister. However, Pilot has distanced himself from the threat by a Gurjar outfit to disrupt the Bharat Jodo Yatra and accused the BJP of trying to create “disturbances”.
“No matter how hard the BJP tries, the yatra will be successful,” Pilot said when asked about Bainsla’s threat. “The BJP may try to create disturbances…but it is ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ and it will be successful. We will all welcome the yatra with unity,” he said outside the party’s war room where a meeting has been convened to review preparations for the foot march.
Currently in Madhya Pradesh, the padyatra has covered 1471 kilometres covering 32 districts across seven states so far and is set to enter Rajasthan in first week of December.
The former deputy chief minister said he was confident that the yatra will be “historic” and that the people are excited. “People from all communities want the yatra to come to the state. From here, it will be a new beginning for the Congress…for elections and for the people of the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that he will try to address Gurjar community’s complaints. Reacting to the Gurjar leader’s demands, Gehlot said, “This is democracy and every one has the right to speak. We are ruling on the basis of the Constitution and the right to speak cannot be taken away. If there is any demand or suggestion, we will hear that and will try to address the complaints.”
The Rajasthan CM said that the yatra will be held successfully in the state. “The atmosphere in the state is good, there is enthusiasm in the party workers. The objective of the yatra is to restore harmony and flag issues such as inflation and unemployment,” he said after a meeting of the party leaders to review the preparations of the yatra.
He said that efforts were made to tarnish the image of Rahul Gandhi on social media in the past but now, through the yatra, a new image of him has emerged.
Gurjar Arakshan Sangharh Samiti leader Vijay Singh Bainsla has threatened to oppose Rahul Gandhi’s yatra in the state unless his demands, including making Pilot, a prominent face from the community, the chief minister are accepted. He has also accused the Congress government of not fulfilling the promises made to the community.
“We had agreements with the government in 2019 and 2020 over several issues but the agreement is not being executed. It is not that we are threatening to stop the yatra but it is the Rajasthan government which is compelling us to take this move by not fulfilling our demands,” he said.
On Bainsla’s remarks that the community had voted for the Congress believing that a Gurjar leader will be made the chief minister, Pilot said the Congress was reduced to 21 seats in the 2013 assembly elections, but the people gave it a mandate in the 2018 elections.
Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee chief Govind Singh Dotasra had said no one had the courage to stop the yatra in the state.
Earlier, Hemaram Chowdhary, Rajasthan Minister for Environment and Forests, said Congress came to power in 2013 because of Pilot and he should be rewarded for the hard work done by him. “There should be no waiting, the party leadership should decide on it soon,” NDTV reported Chowdhary as saying.
Congress leader and minister Rajendra Gudha had also demanded that Pilot should be made CM again and said not even 10 MLAs will win the 2023 assembly elections if Pilot is not given the leadership role.
The Gurjar community constitutes five to six per cent of the state’s population and is influential in over 40 seats, mainly in eastern Rajasthan. This region includes the districts from where the yatra is scheduled to pass.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra will enter from Jhalawar tentatively on December 3 and will cover parts of Jhalawar, Kota, Bundi, Sawaimadhopur, Dausa and Alwar in 20 days.
Last week, Congress leader Ajay Maken quit as the party’s Rajasthan-in-charge as per sources, citing the developments in late September when Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at the last minute refused to give up the CM post to contest the Congress president’s election. Maken wrote to party president Mallikarjun Kharge, expressing his unwillingness to continue as the in-charge of Rajasthan, in a one-page letter on November 8.
As per sources, Maken was unhappy that no action was taken by the party against the MLAs loyal to Gehlot who had refused to attend a key party meeting, where the CM’s replacement was to be picked, and instead went to the Speaker to hand in their resignation in protest.
Gehlot had apologised publicly later for failing to get the resolution passed and opted out of the race for the Congress president after meeting then party chief Sonia Gandhi.
(With PTI inputs)
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