Forgive, forget and move on,” this is how Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday tried to pacify his MLAs, some of whom are upset over the return of rebel legislators to the party-fold without facing any action.
Talking to reporters in Jaisalmer, Gehlot said he had urged the MLAs to bear with the development, while acknowledging that it was “natural” for them to be upset.
“It is natural for them to be upset. The way this episode happened, they had to stay in hotels,” he said on Wednesday, in an apparent reference to the previous evening’s Congress Legislature Party meeting in Jaisalmer.
“I have exhorted them that in the interest of the country, State, people of the State and for saving democracy, sometimes we have to bear this,” he said.
“Forget and forgive and move on in the interest of the country, the State, the people of the State and democracy. Democracy in under threat. This was a fight to save democracy, in which our MLAS gave their support,” he said.
He said more than 100 MLAs stayed together for such a long time, which is a big thing in itself and had never happened in the history of the country.
The CM said all MLAs, including those who have “returned” now, will work together to fulfil the commitments made to the people of the State.
The MLAs in the Gehlot camp were on Wednesday flown back to Jaipur from Jaisalmer, where they were together at another hotel.
They were taken straight from the airport to the Fairmont hotel on the outskirts of the city, where they had stayed before being moved to Jaisalmer. The MLAs — mostly from the Congress and some allies — are expected to remain there till the Assembly meets on August 14.
The Congress crisis in Rajasthan ended with the intervention of the top leadership of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who met rebel leader Pilot earlier this week
Pilot had openly rebelled against Gehlot last month along with 18 other Congress MLAs. He was then sacked as Deputy Chief Minister and the party’s Rajasthan chief.
At earlier Congress Legislature Party meetings, the loyalist MLAs had called for disciplinary action against the dissidents who defied party whips by demanding a change in the leadership in the State.
In Jaipur, as the loyalist MLAs headed to the Fairmont hotel, Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas confirmed that they are not happy with the turn of events.
“Yes, several MLAs said they are upset and saying this is their right,” he said, while reminding that a decision has already been taken by the party high command.