New Delhi: Amid internal rift in Rajasthan Congress, where former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot rebelled against the party and decided to be elusive with his supporting 18 MLAs, Congress sources say that the party leadership has tried its best to retain Pilot in the party fold.
Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "two senior members of the Congress Working Committee spoke to him at least eight times. Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal also spoke to him two to three times. Even members of the Gandhi family spoke to Pilot to persuade him to come back in the party fold."
"Now Sachin Pilot has to decide if he wanted to be trapped in the BJP conspiracy or come out of the clutches," added Surjewala.
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Sources say Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has also spoken to him but Pilot said he did not need the advice of the party leadership.
Sources close to the deliberations said that Sachin Pilot's only condition was the Chief Minister's post but the party has told him to be accommodated outside Rajasthan.
The Congress leaders who wanted him back in the party said, in condition of anonymity, that the Congress cannot rely on him anymore as he is hobnobbing with the BJP.
The matter of the family should be sorted out within the family, it cannot be resolved through media channels and Sachin Pilot should immediately stop taking favours from the BJP, said Surjewala.
Congress sources say Senior party functionaries Ahmed Patel and P. Chidambaram also spoke to Pilot.
While Congress top leaders said that there is no progress on talks with him as the government is now safe and Sachin Pilot has to decide for the rapprochement with the party.
The fight within the Rajasthan Congress came out in the open after the SOG (Special Operation Group) released tapped phone calls which discuss the rift between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot.
After the SOG notice Sachin Pilot along with his supporting MLAs reached Delhi and the Congress appealed to him twice to attend the legislature party meet but it was all futile now as the matter of disqualification has gone to court.
The Congress has alleged that it is the BJP's plan to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan by bringing Congress MLAs and Independents under their fold during the Rajya Sabha polls.