JAIPUR: Congress general secretary K C Venugopal tried to temper deep differences within the party in Rajasthan with a show of unity before the media by holding and raising the hands of CM Ashok Gehlot and ex-deputy CM Sachin Pilot after a meeting Tuesday for the Bharat Jodo Yatra entering the state on December 4.
Sparring heavyweights Gehlot and Pilot laughed and smiled during the photoshoot and fielded media queries along with Venugopal and PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra. The symbolism wasn't lost as their bonhomie act played out days after Gehlot called Pilot a "gaddar" (traitor) in an interview to news channel NDTV.
. We are completely one," Venugopal said after the meeting for the Rahul Gandhi-led yatra that will be in the state till December 21.
Pilot and Gehlot have said that they will work unitedly for the yatra as well as the elections, according to Venugopal. "Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that both Gehlot and Pilot are assets of the party," he said.
The party released a video where Pilot and Gehlot greeted each other after reaching the meeting venue. They interacted with the media together.
Gehlot said there is no number 1, 2, or 3 in Congress. "All are equal. Everyone is united in Rajasthan. Both of us are assets, where is the dispute then? Rahul Gandhi also meant that every party worker is an asset."
This could also mean his three loyalists who were served notice for indiscipline are also assets.
Venugopal said he had sought a report from the PCC president on those who made public statements after the party's gag order on factional politics since a failed CLP meeting on September 25.
For his part, Pilot said everyone's aboard to strengthen the party. "No one can provoke us... (The yatra) will be welcomed with maximum enthusiasm and energy in Rajasthan." The yatra has rattled and demoralised BJP and it will be a huge success in Rajasthan, said Venugopal, who also predicted that Congress will win the 2023 assembly elections.