Bharatpur MLA Vishvendra Singh, who was recently stripped of his Cabinet portfolio and suspended from the Congress for his open revolt against the Rajasthan government, has objected to the word ‘rebel’ being used to describe him and other MLAs from the Sachin Pilot camp.
In an exclusive chat with IANS, Singh said, “It’s sad that BSP and independent MLAs who joined the Congress after defeating Congress candidates, are now calling us rebels. Isn’t it time to introspect who the real rebels are, they or we?”
“Many of the independents did not get tickets, hence they rebelled and contested as independents. They defeated our candidates. While they were outsiders, who fielded their candidates against Congress, we were the real warriors who worked hard on ground, we sweated it out with our workers day in and day out to take Congress’ seats from 21 to 101. How can these outsiders call us rebels?” he added.
Singh said that Pilot and other 18 MLAs did not go to Delhi to topple the government.
“We went to meet the high command to convey our message that there is lack of coordination between the organisation and the government,” he said, adding that there were many challenges which remained unresolved due to this tussle as there was no one who could have lent an ear to them.
“Imagine our plight, as soon as we left, the state government activated the Special Operations Group, Anti-Corruption Bureau and other agencies and slapped sedition charges on us. Tell us what anti-party activity did we do? Did we do something which was anti-national?” he asked.
“We were attacked verbally and legally by the state government in whatever manner they could, however, we remained silent. The only act we did was to respond to the legal notice following the legal way and the matter is sub-judice,” he added.
Singh expressed satisfaction on their meeting with the party high command in Delhi and said, “We are obliged that they (Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmad Patel and K.C. Venugopal) took time out and heard our grievances.”
Asked if they had quoted any terms and conditions to the high command, Singh said, “No, we have made a comeback without mentioning any terms and conditions. However, the three-member committee will look into our grievances.”
On allegations that they were hobnobbing with the BJP camp, he said, “Sachin Pilot was residing in his own house, I have my house in Delhi, but yes, we all were meeting once a day to check out if all is okay with everyone. We all paid our individual bills in hotels and we have proof for the same.”
Did they get Rs 25-35 crore from the BJP which the Chief Minister claimed was being done as part of horse-trading? On this, Singh said, “Had we got this amount we would not have been sitting here in Rajasthan.”
Speaking on the three audio clips which were circulated by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s media manager Lokesh Sharma, he said, “Those clippings were edited and manipulated and the other voice mentioned in the video is not of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat but one of my friends. The Chief Minister has promised to resign from his post if the video turns out to be fake.”
“All we want is self-respect, we were part of Congress, we are part of Congress and we will be part of Congress and we will make sure that the party completes its five years successfully and emerges as the winner in the next election too,” Singh added.