Sachin Pilot’s rare support for Ashok Gehlot as ED summons CM’s son

Vaibhav was summoned in a case of alleged Forex violation

Sachin Pilot addresses a press conference at AICC headquarters in Delhi | Sanjay Ahlawat Sachin Pilot addresses a press conference at AICC headquarters in Delhi | Sanjay Ahlawat

Rajasthan's former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Thursday came out in support of his political rival, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, decrying the summons of the Enforcement Directorate to the latter's son Vaibhav.

Pilot addressed a press conference at the AICC headquarters to condemn the Enforcement Directorate's action against PCC president Govind Singh Dotasra and the summons served by the agency to Vaibhav to appear before it.

The ED raids against Dotasra are in connection with the paper leaks matter, and Vaibhav has been summoned in a case of alleged Forex violation.

Pilot has through the press conference sought to project the state unit as a united house ahead of elections. This is in contrast to Pilot's protests against his own government on various issues, such as the paper leaks matter and corruption charges against former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

He has often taken on the chief minister directly, the backdrop being the tussle for power between the two.

However, closer to elections, in the face of the ED action, the party leaders have closed ranks, as was evident in Pilot coming out in support of Gehlot.

In the press conference, he referred to the advice given to him by party president Mallikarjun Kharge about letting bygones be bygones and looking ahead.

Pilot, however, gave clear indications that he is not ceding ground on the issue of who will be the next chief minister if the Congress wins.

Asked for his reaction to Gehlot's remarks at a recent press conference at the AICC office that the chief minister's chair does not seem to leave him, Pilot pointed to the convention of the MLAs deciding who will occupy the top post, and the role of the party high command in the process to zero in on a name acceptable to all.

He said what is there in the future cannot be foretold and one has to live in the present while drawing lessons from the past. He further said the party will decide what the roles of different leaders will be in the future.

Following the truce that was worked out between Gehlot and Pilot by the Congress leadership a few months ago, the two leaders have desisted from attacking each other.

Gehlot, at his recent press conference in Delhi, said on the issue of selection of candidates that he was party to decisions that were in favour of Pilot. He insisted that he had not opposed ticket to any Pilot supporter.

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