NEW DELHI: Sachin Pilot’s sacking as
Rajasthan deputy chief minister
and state Congress chief and impending exit from the party brought out an outpouring of support and regret from party colleagues who called him a talented leader and wished things had not come to such a pass though some questioned his “over-ambitiousness”.
The show of support particularly came from younger leaders who were ministerial colleagues in the UPA government. Sources indicated that interventions were made in a desperate effort to avoid what appeared to be the inevitable divorce between Pilot and Congress, but they did not succeed. While details were not available, it appeared that calls were made to Pilot and the Congress leadership to arrive at a compromise, but the former was unrelenting in his rebellion. The sense of regret is all the more significant as it seems to reinforce the view that younger leaders do not have space and revives speculation that the party is chary of anyone gaining prominence in comparison to
Former Mumbai MP
said, “Another friend leaves the party. Both Sachin and
) were colleagues and good friends. Unfortunately, our party has lost two stalwart young leaders with great potential. I don’t believe being ambitious is wrong. They have worked hard through the most difficult times.”
Former minister of state
tweeted, “Sachin Pilot is not just a colleague but my friend. No one can take away the fact that all these years, he has worked with dedication for the party. Sincerely hope the situation can still be salvaged. Sad it has come to this.”
Though he is not in the same “club”, former minister Shashi Tharoor tweeted, “I am sad to see Sachin Pilot leave Congress. I consider him one of our best and brightest, and wish it had not come to this.” However, he added that Pilot should have joined the effort to make the party a better “instrument for his and our dreams”. Even here, there seemed to a suggestion that there was a need for reform in the manner of Congress’s functioning.
The sympathetic comments captured the widespread regret in the party at Pilot’s dismissal owing to his rebellion against Rajasthan CM
. While some said Pilot had to be retained and things should not have been allowed to spiral, a leader said, “Rahul Gandhi invested a great deal of energy and political capital in him and his exit will bring that to naught.”
However, another group of leaders said Pilot erred in his haste and did the unpardonable error of coordinating with BJP to bring down his own government. Veteran Congressman and former Union minister Salman Khurshid said, “Sad to see events unfold in Rajasthan. Sad particularly because the son of my dearest late friend, Rajesh Pilot, is at the vortex. We have challenges ahead that make personal ambitions and expectations insignificant. Let us rededicate our vision and energy.”
Margaret Alva was blunt in her tweet, “A star should be patient and prepare for the long haul. Else, it will end up as a shooting star and burn out.” In the evening, Pilot tweeted thanks to those “who have come out in my support today”.