Sachin hits back at PM over Rajesh Pilot comment

Sachin hits back at PM over Rajesh Pilot comment

Tonk/Jaipur, Nov 22 (PTI) Rajasthan's former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday for commenting on how the Congress treated him and his father, saying there was no need for anyone other than the party and the people to worry about him.

Pilot said his father was a dedicated Congressman throughout his life and the prime minister's statements were far from fact and aimed at diverting people's attention.

At a public meeting in Rajasthan's Bhilwara district, Prime Minister Modi claimed that Rajesh Pilot had 'once challenged this Congress family for the party's good. But this family is such that after punishing Rajesh ji, they are bent upon punishing his son also'.

He alleged that anyone who speaks the truth in the Congress is shunted out from politics and apparently suggested that Rajesh Pilot lost favour with the Congress leadership after contesting against Sitaram Kesri for the party president's post in 1997.

Sachin Pilot has been involved in a power tussle with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the prime minister has been referring to it in his poll campaign.

Responding to PM Modi's claim, Sachin Pilot told PTI, 'My late father contested the election for Congress president's post along with Sharad Pawar against Sitaram Kesri in 1998. At that time, Sonia Gandhi was not in active politics. Kesri won that election and subsequently nominated both Pawar and my father to the working committee.

That is the way a healthy democratic organisation and political party should function, he said.

'As far as I am concerned, I was given an opportunity to become a member of Parliament at a very young age and I have held many responsibilities at the Central government and the state level for many years,' said Pilot, who is contesting the assembly election from Tonk.

He said no one should worry about him and his political future. 'As far as I am concerned, I feel that no one needs to worry about my present and future. My party and people will worry about that and will take good care of me.' Pilot asserted that his father joined the Congress as he was inspired by Indira Gandhi and served the public for a long time, fighting communal forces throughout his life.

The former Rajasthan deputy chief minister said, 'As far as Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are concerned, we have had relations with this family for decades. This relation is of the heart, this relation is old and I think no one should make statements on this.' 'We are working to strengthen the party,' he said.

'I feel that the BJP's election (campaign) has not taken off. Because of the fact that their campaign is not getting traction among people and voters, they are now looking to divert the attention with such factually wrong statements. It's a clear indication that the BJP is on the backfoot,' the Congress leader said.

Pilot said he is in the Congress working committee and has discharged the responsibilities that have been given to him by the party and will continue to do so.

'I would urge the BJP leaders to start focusing on the development agenda, debate what they have to offer and present their performance report card while they were in the government in Rajasthan,' he said.   'The Congress formed governments in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. It is going to form governments in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where voting has been completed and the party will form government in Rajasthan also,' Pilot added.

The Congress accused Prime Minister Modi of 'unleashing another pack of lies' after he alleged that it 'punished' Rajesh Pilot and his son Sachin Pilot for speaking the truth.

AICC spokesperson and chairman of the media department Pawan Khera said, 'The prime minister's lies stand exposed today in Bhilwara'.

'Today, Narendra Modi while continuing the 'Pradhan Mantri Jhooth Bolo scheme' in a fit of panic unleashed another pack of lies,' he alleged in a statement. PTI SDA NSD NSD

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