Rajasthan Assembly Elections: Ahead of the Rajasthan assembly election, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot‘s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Lokesh Sharma on Sunday met Sachin Pilot. The meeting was held a day after the Congress released its first list of 33 candidates for the November 25 assembly polls.
Notably, Sharma was recently appointed co-chairman of the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee’s central war room for the polls to the 200-member assembly.
‘Discussions on assembly elections were held’
After meeting with the former Deputy Chief Minister, OSD Sharma said he met him to seek his guidance and suggestions for the upcoming assembly polls in the state. “Sachin Pilot is a senior leader. Discussions on assembly elections were held in the meeting. The party has made me the co-chairman of the Central War Room, hence I have come here to seek guidance and suggestions from him. His suggestions would help us to improve so that we can contest the election with full strength and preparation,” said Sharma.
When asked about whether he is willing to contest the elections from Bikaner West, Sharma said that every active member wants to contest the election, however, the party will decide who will contest or not. “Every active worker of the Congress Party wants to contest the elections and I also wish for the same but it is for the party to decide from where I will be given the opportunity,” the co-chairman of the Central War Room said.
It’s worth noting that the Bikaner West assembly seat is currently held by Education Minister BD Kalla.
“The Congress is going to (fight) the election with unity and it will win the polls,” Sharma said after the meeting at Pilot’s Civil Lines residence that lasted for nearly half an hour.
Gehlot and Pilot have been in a power struggle over leadership in Rajasthan since the Congress party came to power in the state in December 2018. In 2020, Gehlot faced a rebellion led by Pilot and his MLA supporters.
During a public meeting on October 20, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, along with both Gehlot and Pilot, emphasised the importance of unity within the party. Priyanka Gandhi stated that the Congress party is united in Rajasthan.
The Congress has fielded Gehlot from Sardarpura and his former deputy Sachin Pilot from Tonk. Three leaders who rebelled against Gehlot with Pilot in 2020 made it to the list — Indraj Singh Gurjar from Virat Nagar, Mukesh Bhakhar from Ladnun, and Ramniwas Gawariya from Parbatsar.
In 2020, during the time of the political crisis, Sharma was accused of circulating call recordings which, he claimed, were for exposing political conspiracy to topple the Gehlot government.
It was alleged that the recordings were of phone calls between Union Minister and senior BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and others.
On the basis of the call recordings, then chief whip Mahesh Joshi had given a complaint to the special operation group and anti-corruption bureau of the Rajasthan Police seeking investigation against Shekhawat and others.
In March 2021, Shekhawat , who is MP from Jodhpur, also lodged an FIR against Sharma in Delhi on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and unlawfully intercepting telegraphic signals (telephonic conversation) following which Sharma approached Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the FIR. The court had given him relief by staying coercive action against him, which is continuing. Sharma has also appeared before the crime branch of the Delhi Police for questioning five times.