Amidst the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, a media report stated that former Congress President Rahul Gandhi made an indirect reference to Sachin Pilot at a meeting of National Students' Union of India (NSUI) on Wednesday, July 15.
"If anybody wants to leave the party, they will. It opens the door for young leaders like you," Gandhi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI during the meeting of the youth wing of the Congress.
The report carrying Gandhi's statement came a day after Sachin Pilot was removed as Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and state party chief in the wake of his rebellion against the Ashok Gehlot-led government.
Congress calls report as 'factually incorrect'
Soon after the report was made public, Congress general secretary and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala informed the news agency that "the story is factually incorrect".
Making amends, the news agency put out a tweet carrying's Surjewala's clarification on the matter.
Further, All India Congress Committee (AICC) joint secretary and national in-charge of NSUI, Ruchi Gupta took to Twitter to clear the air regarding Gandhi's purported comment on Sachin Pilot.
"There have been some media reports about the NSUI meeting with Rahul Gandhi ji today. I want to categorically state that those reports are baseless. This was an internal NSUI meeting and we only discussed students and youth issues," she tweeted.
Rajasthan government crisis update
Noting that Sachin Pilot does not want to join the BJP, the Congress said that it has not yet shut the doors and appealed to him to return back to the party.
"We request him to reject the facilities being offered by the Haryana government and return back to Jaipur. If there are ideological differences, then you can talk in the party forum. We are all ready to listen and find a solution with a generous heart," said Surjewala while addressing a press conference.
The crisis in Rajasthan started on Saturday, July 11, after Sachin Pilot and his loyal MLAs went incommunicado and did not attend the two crucial Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meetings. The move by the former Deputy CM sent clear signals of a revolt against his boss and CM Ashok Gehlot.