Chinks within Rajasthan Congress become visible after Dholpur by-poll loss

Former chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said that the Dholpur by-poll loss was a result of the state Congress being over confident, a statement that Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot found difficult to explain.

While there has been jubilation in the Vasundhara Raje-led BJP camp over the Dholpur by-poll victory, it has led to internal differences within the Rajasthan Congress coming to the fore.

At a press conference in Jaipur at the Pradesh Congress Committee office, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot was asked whether he agrees with former chief minister Ashok Gehlot's statement that the Dholpur by-poll was lost due to over confidence, a statement that is being viewed in political circles as a direct jibe at Pilot's leadership.

Pressed for a reply on whether he agrees with Gehlot's statement, Pilot was at a loss for words.

Pilot remarked, "Listen very carefully, I take everything that Ashok Gehlot says, each statement of his, very seriously. He is a very senior leader (and) a very experienced person. If (he) is saying so, his every suggestion, every statement, I personally take it very seriously. I take it extremely seriously, extremely seriously."

"We have been doing that since the day of counting. When the counting results had come, and whether it be the state Assembly loss, Lok Sabha defeat or by poll defeat, there is always introspection, thinking within the party," Pilot went on to say.

The state Congress chief added, "The Dholpur by-poll and its result will not affect the politics of (the rest of) Rajasthan because when general election will happen, then the chief minister and (her) 15 ministers will not be able to sit in one place...It will be an open and fair election."

When reporters again asked about Gehlot's comments, Pilot repeated, "Like I said, what Mr. Gehlot has said, I take his statement very seriously at all times. Whenever he has said anything, I take his comments very seriously."

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