Political News, Nation, (Jaipur), July 13:-The Rajasthan Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Monday passed a resolution supporting the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state, hours after in a major show of strength 102 MLAs turned up at the chief minister’s residence ahead of the meeting.
The meet was called by the party amid the crisis caused by deputy CM Sachin Pilot’s rebellion. The resolution passed at the CLP meet said: “This ripping off of democracy by BJP is insult to eight crore people of Rajasthan, they’ll not accept it. CLP meet expresses its confidence in Congress President Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi, and unanimously supports the government led by Ashok Gehlot.”
The morning saw not just hectic parleys and a war of words between the BJP and Congress but also raids by the IT department on the residences and properties of two of Gehlot’s close confidants, with the Congress calling it a “witch-hunt”. As rumours flew about Pilot jumping ship to join hands with the BJP, the rebel leader reportedly told the Congress that working under Gehlot was “tough”. Sources close to Pilot, however, said in all likelihood, he would float his own party.
Sources in the Congress said the party cannot afford to lose another state, as it has already lost Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh even after forming the government following assembly elections there. While the top Congress leadership was tight-lipped about the strategy for Rajasthan, some senior leaders said efforts were underway to keep all 107 MLAs together to avert any potential threat to the government in the wake of Pilot’s claims of support of 30 MLAs. The Congress is also assessing the future moves of Pilot and his bargaining power with the BJP, which the senior leaders alleged is the principal spoiler in the game.
Sources in the BJP said that the party is in a “wait and watch” mode over the unfolding crisis and will wait for the outcome of the show of strength between Gehlot and his deputy before deciding on its next course of action. Pilot, who is also the Rajasthan Congress president, is said to be in touch with some BJP leaders but saffron party sources declined to comment on whether it has held any discussion with him. A BJP leader said the rebel Congress leader seems to have “made up his mind” and does not look in any mood to reconcile with Gehlot’s leadership.
The events in Rajasthan come almost four months after the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh headed by Kamal Nath was toppled, with his bete noire Jyoritaditya Scindia switching sides to the BJP, along with his supporters. However, in-charge of Rajasthan affairs in the Congress, Avinash Pande told PTI that the government was stable and would complete its full term. He said he has tried to reach out to Sachin Pilot, who is incommunicado for the last two days, and have left messages for him.
The Congress has 107 MLA in the 200-member state assembly, and also has support of at least 10 independent MLAs. The BJP has 72 MLAs and has the support of three MLAs of Rashtriya Loktantrik Party run by Hanuman Beniwal. As the Congress grappled with factionalism, Pande wondered who were the MLAs who are purported to have sided with Pilot. “All Congress MLAs are in touch with me and the government in Rajasthan is stable and will last its full term,” he said.
Meanwhile, three of the MLAs considered to be close to Pilot – Danish Abrar, Rohit Bohra and Chetan Dudi, returned from Delhi to Jaipur and extended their support to Gehlot saying they are and will remain loyal soldiers of the party. Pande also said party chief Sonia Gandhi has been updated on the developments in Rajasthan.
The latest tussle in the state was triggered after the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police issued notices to Gehlot and Pilot after registering an FIR on Friday against two people, who have been detained, for their alleged involvement in horse trading of Congress MLAs for toppling the state government.
The supporters of Pilot said the notice was sent to the deputy chief minister was to humiliate him. On the Rajasthan police issuing notice to Gehlot also to record his statement, they said the notice to the chief minister, also holding the charge of state home affairs, was only an “eyewash”. “Everyone should cooperate with Rajasthan SOG. There is no harm in joining the probe,” Pande said.
Pande also accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the Congress government in Rajasthan. “Their attempt is to create an atmosphere of uncertainty in Rajasthan. But, they will not succeed in their attempts,” he added. Surjewala also tweeted that “the ruling party first bought MLAs in Madhya Pradesh and now in Rajasthan. Everyone has to understand that the crisis is not just on one state but the entire democracy.” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)