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After talking to Sachin Pilot & 13 MLAs, panel to meet Ashok Gehlot


NEW DELHI: The three-member committee constituted by interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi last month “to oversee and follow up the smooth resolution of recent issues in Rajasthan” appears to be working towards a reconciliation pact.

Sachin Pilot, who was removed as Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and deputy chief minister during the month-long aborted rebellion by about 19 MLAs against the Ashok Gehlot government, has met the committee members thrice in the past one month, said people aware of the matter. Thirteen of the 19 Congress MLAs, who had sided with Pilot, too met the committee members to present their cases, they said.

The committee, comprising All India Congress Committee (AICC) members Ahmed Patel, KC Venugopal and Ajay Maken, will soon meet CM Gehlot, according to those in the know. If needed, the committee will also hold another meeting with both Gehlot and Pilot present together.

“The past developments have left deep wounds in the minds of many of our colleagues in Rajasthan that may take time to fully heal. Yet, in order to further strengthen the Congress party, it is important to ensure all leaders and shades of opinion reconcile, and we are now in the process of reaching that direction in Rajasthan,” a member of the committee told ET on condition of anonymity.

Some MLAs from the other side may also meet the committee members before they make their recommendations to the Congress president. But with Gehlot now firmly in saddle, with no internal challenge to his continuance as CM, the completion of the committee’s reconciliation exercise could lead to re-accommodation of Pilot, perhaps with a slot in the AICC. The pending expansion of the state cabinet, constitution of PCC and district Congress committees, and party nominations to state boards and commissions too may follow.

Pilot may soon do some campaign assignment for the Congress outside Rajasthan, said one of the persons cited earlier. The Madhya Pradesh Congress leadership is learnt to be interested in making use of Pilot (and also Gehlot) in the campaign for the upcoming assembly elections, especially in about 10 constituencies bordering Rajasthan.

When contacted Pilot told ET, “If the Congress leadership asks me, I will campaign for the party candidates in the by-elections in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and also for the coming assembly election in Bihar. I have always done whatever work the party has asked me to do.”

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