Gehlot, Pilot fly together to Shimla; “united,” says Congress

Gehlot, Pilot fly together to Shimla; “united,” says Congress Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his Congress colleague Sachin Pilot, who have been locked in a turf war, flew together to Shimla to attend the swearing-in of Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu as Himachal Pradesh CM on Sunday, with the party asserting they were “united”. All party leaders are “united” and the two leaders travelling together was not just for photographs, Congress general secretary in charge of communications Jairam Ramesh told reporters here. Asked whether it was an effort at unity, he said this is not an attempt but a reality. “We are one.” “Both leaders are assets for us. One is experienced, is at high position in the organisation and in the state. Sachin Pilot is young and energetic. The people and the organisation need both of them. What you are seeing is not hypocrisy or a show,” Ramesh said. Gehlot and Pilot reached the Jaipur airport in the same helicopter from Bundi’s Kapren and went to Delhi in a charter plane. From there, they reached Shimla. As Gehlot’s terse remarks against Pilot escalated the tussle recently, the party stepped in to broker truce. In an interview to NDTV, Gehlot had said Pilot is a “gaddar” (traitor) who cannot replace him as the chief minister as he had revolted against the Congress in 2020 and tried to topple the state government, drawing a sharp response from his former deputy who said such “mud-slinging” would not help. In Shimla, four-time Congress MLA Sukhu, 58, was sworn in as the 15th Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh at a ceremony attended by senior party leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the hill state winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats. The polling was held on November 12 and the results were declared Thursday.