Senior Congressman and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot on Sunday urged everyone to join the “historic” march as the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Rajasthan. Despite their disputes and ongoing rivalry for the position of chief minister, Pilot and chief minister Ashok Gehlot presented a united front before to the yatra entering the state.
Years of rivalry between Pilot and Gehlot culminated in 2020 when the former rebelled against CM Gehlot’s authority. Gehlot said to NDTV on November 24 that Pilot is a “gaddar” and cannot be elected as the CM.
Hitting back, Pilot said the remarks were unbecoming of a senior leader. Days later, the Congress said certain words used by the CM were “unexpected” but differences between the two leaders will be resolved. Rahul Gandhi also called them both “assets”.
Dismissing apprehensions that the infighting may affect the yatra’s Rajasthan leg, Pilot on Sunday told news agency PTI that the party’s state unit is “fully united”. “As far as Rahul ji’s yatra is concerned, there is complete unanimity in the party and we are working together to make it a success.”
Pilot said, “The issue on which Rahul Gandhi has taken out yatra is being accepted by the people enthusiastically. The support of the people for the yatra is increasing manifold.”
Pilot posted a video on Twitter on Saturday, urging people to join the yatra. “Entire Rajasthan is participating in Rahul ji’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. Are you coming?”
The 3,570 kilometre cross-country march started on September 7 in Kanyakumari and has already travelled through some of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. It entered Rajasthan on Sunday from Madhya Pradesh.
Gandhi received a rousing welcome in Jhalawar, the capital of the Congress-controlled state. Gandhi danced with folk musicians on stage while holding hands with Gehlot, Pilot, and state unit president Govind Singh Dotasra. Rajasthan will host the yatra through December 21.
Gandhi said the yatra is teaching him things that cannot be learnt “while travelling in an aeroplane, a helicopter or any vehicle”.