Despite accusing senior party leader Sachin Pilot of colluding with the BJP, the Congress has still kept its doors open for him and other rebel MLAs and they may be given another chance to return to the party fold. Sources stated that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is behind the softening of stance on rebels and he is understood to have instructed the party leaders to give Pilot another chance.
According to a Congress national leader in Jaipur, the party's doors are still open for Sachin Pilot because Rahul Gandhi has instructed that despite all the provocation, he should be given another chance. "Pilot should be given one more chance to join the family," he said.
Sources told that Ahmed Patel, a leader very close to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, is in contact with the former Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan and is talking to him.
It was earlier believed that Rahul's had taken a tough stance on Pilot's rebellion. However, now according to the latest development, Rahul is trying to create an atmosphere of respectful return of Sachin.
According to sources, the directive from Rahul Gandhi came after the statement of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday afternoon, in which Gehlot directly accused Pilot of being involved in the conspiracy to topple the government with the BJP and said that he has a proof regarding it.
Soon after this statement, Rahul Gandhi instructed the national leaders stationed in Jaipur that Pilot should be given a chance to return. After which, the national media in-charge Randeep Surjewala appealed through the media that Sachin Pilot should return to Jaipur with all his MLAs.
As a show of good faith, state NSUI President who was close to Pilot and was also removed has been given another chance on the instruction of Rahul Gandhi.
Congress had earlier called a legislature party meeting twice in Jaipur, which was boycotted by the MLAs of Sachin Pilot camp. Due to the rebellion, the post of Deputy Chief Minister and state president of Congress was taken away from Pilot. While action has been taken against his supporters as well and State Youth Congress head, Sewa Dal Chief who are MLAs have also been removed.
Eighteen Congress MLAs, along with Pilot, have been issued a show-cause notice for not attending the CLP meeting. Though Pilot has not returned to Jaipur from New Delhi, his demeanour seems to have become softer, party sources believe.
It is also important to note that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is in touch with Pilot. She has spoken to him several times and is pushing for his return to Jaipur. Several senior party leaders including Former Union Minister Jitin Prasad, Priya Dutt, Shashi Tharoor tweeted and pushed that talks should be initiated with Pilot.
The view was also lent support by veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva, who tweeted, "Differences are not anti-party. They have to be sorted out and compromises worked out. We have done it over the years." Her tweet was later endorsed by former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.
Party sources stated that in case Pilot returns home unconditionally and proclaims his support to the Gehlot government, after a few months, he can be given some big responsibility in the party.
However, if Pilot remains adamant then the Congress wants to take away the opportunity from him to garner sympathy by keeping their doors open for him to rejoin. That is why Congress is adopting a dual strategy, sources stated.
Congress leaders have pointed out that the rebel camp has full opportunity to return home till the last date and for answering the show cause notice issued by the Speaker.
While the Congress leadership is backing Ashok Gehlot, it also does not wants to lose Pilot. Due to Pilot's rebellion, top leadership is facing criticism after Ashok Tanwar, Pradyut Mkya, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Jyotiraditya Scindia Congress who has been losing young leaders who were supposed to be members of team Rahul Gandhi.
( With inputs from ANI )