Rival camps in Raj Cong maintain 'social distancing' in COVID-19 times


[Jaipur: Deputy Chief Minister and Rajasthan Congress President Sachin Pilot addresses media, during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, in Jaipur, Friday, May 22, 2020. ( /PTI] Jaipur, May 22 : Congress factionalism stands out in the open yet again in Rajasthan amid the COVID-19 crisis as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's camp seems to be maintaining a 'healthy social distancing' with the rival camp led by Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. Even the Congress office-bearers have started questioning why their organisation is not standing as one entity but is emerging as a two-faced body amid these testing times. The respective camps of Gehlot and Pilot are seen going parallel and have never been seen together since last many days. While Gehlot and state health minister Raghu Sharma are seen together in most of the press meets called during COVID-19 times, Pilot and other ministers from his camp are nowhere seen around on any of these occasions. "This distance definitely needs to be sorted out," a Congress worker told IANS quoting the recent Madhya Pradesh example where the BJP formed its government cashing in on Congress factionalism. In fact, the difference between two camps came out open recently when Gehlot camp stood active on Bharatpur border where buses were parked to take migrants from Rajasthan to UP, however, the Pilot camp later called a press conference on Friday to address the issue. State minister Subhash Garg, who is Bharatpur MLA, and is known to be from Gehlot camp, actively stood along the UP borders for two days on Wednesday and Thursday, to manage the crises when the UP government refused to permit buses to enter into its state. Surprisingly, the other state minister from Bharatpur, Vishvendra Singh, known to be from Pilot's camp, did not appear anywhere in the picture through this episode. Similarly, during the presser called on Friday, Pilot led from the front with state transport minister Pratap Kachriyawas, while Gehlot and his ministers kept a healthy distance from this affair. The other instance showed party factions when Vishvendra Singh stirred up a hornet's nest by coming openly supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign. In his tweet, Singh said, "Fail to fathom the protest against Atmanirbhar Bharat. Countries around the world have made themselves self sufficient. Why shouldn't India do the same? I for one wholeheartedly support this initiative by PM@narendramodi. Time to think beyond pettypolitics." All eyes remained on this Twitter conversation as state BJP president Satish Poonia welcomed his statement and retweeted this tweet. In his reply, he said, "Vishvendra ji surely if all people representatives like you stand united in support of the spirit of nation first, then @narendramodi ji's AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan will soon attain success and India will lead the world by becoming world guru again." However, all other Congress workers remained silent on Singh's tweet. In fact, this state minister continued endorsing PM's campaign on his twitter page. In his recent tweet, he questioned, "An #iPhone is designed in USA and assembled in China ... why can't it be assembled and perhaps even designed in #India?" He also used Atmanirbhar Bharat as a hashtag in his tweet. Further, Vishvendra Singh's picture with Pilot has been kept as his pinned tweet which shows the two ministers' strong bonding. Meanwhile, with two camps seen clearly working individually in state, there are silent whispers if MP politics is being repeated in Rajasthan? "No, it's just not possible, as Rajasthan government is quite stable and there is no such clue coming in," said Pradesh Congress Committee Vice President Archana Sharma. BJP state president Satish Poonia, when asked about his reaction on present situation in the state said, "No politics during COVID-19 times." /IANS


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