Dalit boy's death: Pilot vs Gehlot again in Rajasthan

NEW DELHI: The death of a dalit student in Rajasthan’s Jalore has become the latest flashpoint in the Congress vs Congress war in the state.
Indra Meghwal, a 9-year-old student of a private school in Surana village of Jalore district, was beaten up by his teacher on July 20 for allegedly touching a drinking water pot. The boy succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Ahmedabad on August 13.
The incident has cornered the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government. Ironically though, more than the opposition, it is a section of the Congress that has raised the pitch against its own government in the state.
One Congress MLA Pana Chand Meghwal and 12 party councillors of Baran Municipal Council have submitted their resignations putting pressure on Gehlot. The councillors expressed anguish over atrocities against the dalits and deprived sections in the state.
To add to Gehlot’s trouble, his former deputy Sachin Pilot took a veiled dig to attack the government.
Pilot, who had led an unsuccessful rebellion against Gehlot, had a strong message for his government – walk the talk to win the trust of the Dalit community.
“Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instill trust in them,” Pilot said.
Pilot met the victim’s family and said: “Such discrimination is taking place in our system even after 75 years of independence. This is a matter of self-introspection for all of us. His death raises several questions.”
“There should be zero tolerance to such incidents. We should not wait for the next incident to take action. We have to take steps to defeat such ideology. No one can escape after committing atrocities on Dalits,” he added.
Gehlot, on the other hand, accused some party leaders of instigating workers.
“Some of our people, leaders instigate workers by telling them that they should be respected and honoured. It has become a ‘jumla’. Have you ever honoured and respected the workers? Do you even know what honour and respect is?,” the chief minister said in a veiled attack at Pilot..
“We have become a leader from a worker by getting honour and respect,” the CM said.
Pilot has often raised the issue of honour and respect of party workers.
While both the leaders did not take names, the message sent out was loud and clear.
Later in the day, Pilot was absent from the all-party virtual meeting conducted to review the situation of districts affected by the Lumpy Skin disease.
The two leaders have been at loggerheads over several issues ever since the Congress high command managed to convince Pilot to end the rebellion against the Gehlot government.
Rajasthan goes to polls next year. The war of words does not augur well for the Congress that will be desperate to return to power in assembly elections next year.
Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are the only two states that the grand old party rules on its own. However, in both the states the party faces leadership tussles. The grand old party lost a coalition government in Maharashtra recently but in a fortunate turn of events gained another in Bihar.

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