Jaipur, April 19
Amid a tussle for power between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot, Congress state in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Wednesday gave a strict message to office-bearers and workers that no leader is above the party.
He also said Pilot should have raised his demand for action in cases of alleged corruption by the previous BJP government during a debate in the Rajasthan Assembly, instead of holding a day-long fast on the issue. He said he was “looking minutely” at those working for the Congress party and those creating problems for it.
“There is no bigger platform than the assembly because the opposition was there; the Congress MLAs and the chief minister were there. He should have raised his points in the assembly about what our government has done till date. The chief minister would have had to answer,” Randhawa told reporters before a day-long workshop of Congress legislators and office-bearers from Rajasthan began.
Pilot skipped the workshop, organised in Jaipur as the party gears up for the assembly polls due by the end of this year. His office said he was in Delhi.
Ahead of Pilot’s day-long fast on April 11, Randhawa had asked him to reconsider his stand and termed his move “anti-party activity”. But the party central leadership is yet to take any action against the dissident leader.
“I have given a message to all the people present in the workshop that no leader is above the Congress. The leaders are because of Congress. I have also told them to not follow anyone who talks against Congress,” he told reporters after the workshop.
The state unit is also organising a series of individual meetings of party MLAs with Randhawa, State Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Jaipur.
The one-to-one dialogue began on Monday, when MLAs from Ajmer and Jodhpur divisions met the three leaders. Pilot, who is an MLA from Tonk (Ajmer division), skipped the meeting as he had scheduled public events in Shahpur (Jaipur) and Khetri (Jhunjhunu) on the day.
He later renewed his demand, saying, “It’s been a week now but no action has been taken”.
“I am looking minutely at each and everything. I am seeing those who are working for Congress and those who are creating problems for Congress. I am also seeing those who are working for the party without any position,” Randhawa said before the workshop started.
Addressing the workers during the workshop, Gehlot asked them to not get distracted by politics and focus on helping people get access to welfare schemes.
“Our priority is to help people affected by inflation. We need to spread awareness about ‘mehangai rahat’ camps (inflation relief camps) and ensure that people can access its benefits,” Gehlot said.
The chief minister said party leaders and workers working hard in this regard will be rewarded. “Your efforts will not go unnoticed. We will recognise and reward those who go the extra mile to serve people.” State Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra said workers will not support anyone who harms the party.
Pilot has said that the Congress raised the issue of corruption when the party was in opposition during the BJP rule — from 2013 to 2018 — and promised in the 2018 assembly polls that action would be taken in the matter if the party forms the government in Rajasthan.
However, no action was taken in over four years of the Congress government, he added.