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Gehlot-Pilot feud reignites — this time over campaign

The controversy escalated after Sachin Pilot’s interview, where he expressed his dissatisfaction with not being invited to campaign on Jalore-Sirohi seat.

Screenshot 2024 05 15 085609JAIPUR: The feud between two key leaders of Rajasthan Congress, former CM Ashok Gehlot and former state party chief Sachin Pilot, has again surfaced, this time over a controversy regarding campaign participation. The point of contention arose when Gehlot’s son Vaibhav abstained from campaigning on Jalor-Sirahi Lok Sabha seat. Pilot recently claimed that he was not invited to campaign in Jalore, a statement refuted by Gehlot who called it “stupid.”

During an interview in Amethi, Gehlot said, “This is an unnecessary issue blown out of proportion. Making such comments during polls serves no purpose. It was not a matter of not being invited; rather, I chose not to go. Such statements are uncalled for and must not have been made.”

The controversy escalated after Pilot’s interview, where he expressed his dissatisfaction with not being invited to campaign on Jalore-Sirohi seat. Pilot said, “The candidate who called me I have gone there. I am holding meetings wherever the party has ordered me. I have also said publicly that I will definitely go to campaign extensively. Because of that, I had also told Pukhraj Parashar ji, who looks after all the work in Jalore, that I want to come for campaigning… but due to some reason I have not been able to make it to the programme.’’

Gehlot retorted, “Priyanka Gandhi had visited there (Jalor-Sirohi). There would have been no problem if Pilot had come along. Everyone would have welcome him.” Gehlot further revealed that Anil Chopra, the Congress candidate from Jaipur Rural, had invited him for campaign, but due to scheduling conflicts, he couldn’t attend. Gehlot said such matters should not be made into issues.

“One should never speak like this during elections. Candidates call leaders for campaigning based on their discretion. This should not become a contentious issue,” Gehlot said. “I avoid making such statements during elections. If a candidate feels my presence may affect their caste equations, they won’t call me. I don’t see any reason to feel aggrieved about it.”

The controversy extends beyond Jalore-Sirohi, as Pilot also abstained from campaigning for RLP candidate Hanuman Beniwal in Nagaur. Beniwal recently stated that the absence of Pilot and Congress state president Govind Dotasara in Nagaur would not impact the election outcome.

Bone of contention

Gehlot played a pivotal role in facilitating RLP candidate Hanuman Beniwal’s alliance with Congress. Sources say that Pilot and Dotasara opposed Beniwal’s alliance with Congress, but their efforts were thwarted by Gehlot. Due to this discord, both leaders of the Congress refrained from campaigning in Nagaur.

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