Express News Service
JAIPUR: Congress leader and former deputy CM Sachin Pilot’s 44th birthday bash on Tuesday reflected the deep rift within the Rajasthan Congress.
Sources said a steady stream of supporters flowing into Pilot’s residence sent a strong message to the high command on a day it sought report from the state unit on the shock defeat in the Jaipur Zila Pramukh election.
Sources said Congress’ shock defeat was engineered by Pilot loyalist Ved Prakash Solanki, who herded the winner Rama Devi to the BJP stables, helping the saffron party to form the board. Solanki was among the 19 MLAs, who had rebelled against Gehlot last year.
A group of his supporters, named as Sachin Pilot Fans club, also released a 57-second video clip projecting Pilot as Rajasthan’s future leader and presenting his vision for the state without making any reference to the Ashok Gehlot government.
The video on the development of Rajasthan reflected Pilot’s aspiration for a larger role in the state.
It was released on Monday on the eve of his birthday and is being circulated on social media.
Pilot began his day by offering prayers at ‘Khole ke Hanuman temple’ on the Delhi Road.
A large number of his supporters from various parts of the state reached his residence and greeted him birthday.
The civil lines area where Pilot lives got jam-packed as his enthusiastic supporters reached his residence shouting slogans in his support.
Pilot expressed gratitude to all those who greeted him on his birthday and also issued a video message, thanking them.
MLAs of the Pilot’s camp including Mukesh Bhakar and other leaders were present at the residence.
Describing the scene at Pilot’s residence as “amazing”, MLA Bhakar said people from all walks of life and from across the state came to Jaipur to greet Pilot on his birthday.
“This shows the people’s love towards Pilot, that too when he holds no post,” he said.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra, BJP state president Satish Poonia and other leaders too wished Pilot on his birthday.
“Wishing you a very happy birthday @SachinPilot ji. May you be blessed with happiness, good health and long life,” Gehlot tweeted.
Pilot’s supporters on Monday had carried out a plantation drive in all 200 assembly constituencies of the state to mark his birthday.
State Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra called Rama Devi’s switch to the BJP an act of backstabbing and expelled her for six years. Even Gehlot was not amused, saying, “The very people who tried to topple the government are now horse-trading.”
Though Gehlot and many of his loyalists took to social media to wish him, the happenings in the poll have only added to the bitterness.
(With PTI Inputs)