Sachin Pilot supporters burnt tyres and blocked roads in Rajasthan on Thursday, demanding his appointment as the next chief minister. As the Congress leadership in Delhi deliberated over the chief minister's post, groups of people tried to stop traffic at places in Dausa, Ajmer and Karauli districts, police said.
Protesters blocked the Jaipur-Agra highway at Dausa for some time, burning old tyres. There was a similar disruption on the Jaipur-Ajmer highway, and attempts to block traffic on other roads. In most cases, the protesters were from Pilot's Gujjar community, police said.
The protests prompted Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president Sachin Pilot to issue an appeal on Twitter, asking people to remain calm. Pilot and two-time chief minister Ashok Gehlot are vying for the top post in Rajasthan, following the party's victory in the December 7 assembly polls.
In Karauli, about 25 youths burnt tyres on the road, police said. In Dausa, some people gathered at the Jaipur-Agra highway near Patoli for about 30 minutes before being dispersed, police said. Some people also gathered at the Jaipur-Ajmer highway near Ghooghra in Ajmer and burnt tyres," Special DG (Law and Order) NRK Reddy told PTI.
The blockage was cleared by the police, he said. “Similar demonstrations were held in Karauli's Hindaun in the evening but the police controlled the situation quickly,” he said.
Six people climbed atop an overhead water tank in Bandikui in Dausa but were later persuaded to come down, he added. Bharatpur Inspector General of Police Malini Agrawal said people gathered at Hindaun and nearby areas and were later dispersed.
She said there was no violence and the situation there was back to normal. “We want Sachin Pilot as the next chief minister of Rajasthan. The party high command should declare his name as soon as possible,” Sugar Singh, state secretary of Akhil Bhartiya Yuva Gurjar Mahasabha, said.
“Our members were peaceful at the demonstrations, which were held in Gurjar-dominated areas in eastern Rajasthan,” he said. Pilot issued an appeal on Twitter for calm.
“I request all workers to maintain peace and discipline,” he wrote in Hindi. “I completely trust the party's high command,” he said, adding that he will welcome any decision taken by leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
“It is the responsibility of committed workers to maintain the party's dignity,” he tweeted. In Jaipur, supporters of both Pilot and Gehlot had gathered outside their homes.
“Looking at the number of supporters, additional policemen have been deployed,” Additional Police Commissioner Nitindeep Bluggan said.