Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister and Congress leader Sachin Pilot will not attend a legislative party meeting scheduled to be held today, and has openly announced that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s government in the state is in minority after over 30 Congress and some independent MLAs pledged support to him.
In an official statement, Pilot said, “Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot government is in minority after over 30 Congress and some independent MLAs have pledged support to me.”
Pilot, who is in Delhi with around 15 MLAs, has sought time from the Congress high command.
Pilot also had an elaborate discussion with Jyotiraditya Scindia, his former party colleague and friend, who recently jumped ship to the Bharatiya Janata Party after being sidelined in Madhya Pradesh by former chief minister Kamal Nath.
Scindia’s resignation along with several MLAs led to the collapse of Nath’s government.
Pilot went to Delhi to meet interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. However, he received no communication from the party high command. In fact, Congress veterans, including Randeep Surjewala, Avinash Pandey and Ajay Makan, were asked to rush to Jaipur and hold a meeting of the party MLAs today.
Sources said earlier that former Congress president Rahul Gandhi spoke with Pilot amid the serious political crisis in the state.
“Pilot had a conversation with Gandhi,” the source said.
Meanwhile, Surjewala took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Entire country is suffering from Covid-19 crisis and the fresh daily cases have crossed the 29,000 mark. The ruling party first bought our MLAs in Madhya Pradesh and now trying to lure legislators in Rajasthan,” he tweeted.
“One needs to understand that crisis is not for any state but for the entire democracy.”
Earlier in the day, Pandey said that forces trying to destabilise Gehlot’s government will not succeed and the party MLAs are intact.
In a series of tweets, Pandey said, “All the means to buy the Congress-led government in Rajasthan would not succeed. Whatever offer the BJP may make to Congress MLAs our legislators including the independents are united.
“And they all support the Congress-led Ashok Gehlot government in the state,” he said in another tweet.
His remarks came amid the political crisis in the state after Pilot went incommunicado.
According to the sources, Pilot spoke with Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel late on Saturday night but the rift between Gehlot and his deputy is deep-rooted ever since former took over as chief minister.
The Congress is trying to pacify both camps in the state to save the party from another embarrassment, the sources said.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said: “There is a time and a place for everything. Gehlot and Pilot are seasoned leaders and have to demonstrate the perspicacity and maturity they are famous for. Turbulence should be shortlived and solutions lasting and deep.”
Meanwhile, 12 Congress legislators, who have put the Gehlot government in quandary a after reportedly deciding to extend support to the BJP, are camping at a five-star hotel in Maneser in Gurugram.
According to a top BJP source in Haryana, they belong to the Pilot group.
Around 40 BJP legislators have also been lodged in the same hotel as the top leadership feels they are vulnerable and may go with the Congress.
They were brought to Gurugram on Saturday evening by influential BJP leaders of Rajasthan and Delhi.
Pilot reportedly met the MLAs the same evening.
In April, MLAs from Madhya Pradesh were lodged there after the Kamal Nath government lost majority in the assembly and quit.
Earlier, some MLAs from Karnataka, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh had the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality there under the lens of the local police and intelligence apparatus.
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