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'Factionalism the reality of every party': Tharoor amid fresh war of words between Gehlot and Pilot
Jaipur: Amid fresh sabre-rattling between the Congress' top two lieutenants in Rajasthan -- Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot, the party's Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor on Saturday sought to play down the feud saying while factionalism exists in every political party, leaders come together when it comes to pursuing a common and collective cause.
Speaking at an interactive session at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday, Tharoor said, "Are there any monolithic parties in India? Is there only one opinion inside BJP on every subject and every person? In a democracy, two people can have differences of opinion, but if you share the same ideology and are fighting for the same cause, then what the party says goes." The fresh spell of acrimony between Gehlot and Pilot, who had a public falling out till the high command brokered a truce last year, has brought back fears of disunity in the Rajasthan Congress in an election year. The state is scheduled to go to polls towards the close of this year.
On whether factionalism will affect the party's electoral prospects where it is in power, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram said, "This factionalism and infighting is the reality of every party. Small factions happen between leaders but the larger point is all of us are against the BJP. These are very small things in comparison with the larger issues at stake."
In a clear hint that the tenuous truce with his former deputy may not last long, the Rajasthan CM was purportedly heard saying in a recent viral video clip that a "big Corona" has entered the Congress after the pandemic.
While the Gehlot did not take any name, the remark was widely reported as being directed at Pilot.
The video in question was from a January 18 interaction that the Rajasthan CM had with representatives of organisations for government employees at the Secretariat.
Responding to the CM's remark, Pilot, on Friday, said leaders should oppose each other on issues and ideologies and not resort to personal attacks. The former Union minister said leaders should never use words for opponents that they cannot hear for themselves.
On the two heavyweights in Rajasthan having a go at each other, Tharoor advised his colleagues to be careful with their words.
Gehlot, who survived a coup engineered by Pilot in 2020, had previously gone on record to call the former deputy CM 'nakara' and 'nikamma' (worthless).
To a question on whether a leader should use such words against a party colleague, Tharoor said, "We should weigh the words carefully before directing them at our party colleagues. I am proud of the fact that in my 14-year political career, I have never used such words for anyone. Once or twice I said that I prefer not to wrestle in the mud. So it is my request to my colleagues that it is not good to say such things about our brothers and sisters. They can certainly find ways of saying it and can say a lot more privately," he said.
The Congress-ruled Rajasthan stared at a fresh 'political crisis' last year, with Gehlot and Pilot locked in a tussle for chief ministership of the state.
A bid by the high-command to make Gehlot the frontrunner for the Congress' presidential polls last year and install Pilot as the new Rajasthan CM backfired as over 80 MLAs loyal to the former tendered their resignations from the Assembly.
However, Gehlot later pulled out of the polls to elect the new Congress president and held on as CM.
On the ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', the Congress MP said the foot march has altered perceptions around Rahul Gandhi's image.
"There was a narrative projecting him as arrogant and careless. But the yatra has changed people's thinking," Tharoor said.
He said the yatra has also infused the party cadre with new energy and verve.
On the upcoming Bollywood release 'Gandhi Godse - Ek Yudh', a fictional narrative which pits Mahatma Gandhi against his assailant in a battle of ideologies, Tharoor said, "Gandhiji wanted Hindu-Muslim unity and so he was murdered. Now is the time to think about the journey of his life." (ANI)