Sacking of senior leader Sachin Pilot and two ministers has set the stage for the disqualification battle as the Congress issued notices to the former Deputy CM and as many as 18 rebel MLAs for “anti-party activities”.
They have been issued notices by assembly Speaker CP Joshi for allegedly flouting the party whip and not attending Congress Legislative Party meetings called on Monday and Tuesday. The rebel leaders have been asked to respond by Friday.
According to party sources, non-attendance at the Congress Legislature Party meetings and “hobnobbing” with the BJP are the grounds for the disqualification battle.
The notice to Sachin Pilot and other rebel MLAs asks them why they should not be disqualified for anti-party activities and for skipping two meetings of Congress legislators.
The disqualification process was initiated by the Rajasthan Congress late on Tuesday.
After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss, 102 MLAs, who were reportedly present showing their support to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, had unanimously demanded that Pilot be removed from the party.
Following this, the Congress announced the removal of Sachin Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.
Two other ministers, Vishvender Singh and Ramesh Meena, who joined him in his revolt, were also dropped from the Ashok Gehlot cabinet.
On Monday too, Pilot and his flock of 18 MLAs had given the CLP meeting a miss.
Following this, a resolution by MLAs called for “strict disciplinary action” against anyone who did anything to weaken the government or the party.
In yet another move day after the Congress cracked the whip and ousted Rajasthan PCC chief Sachin Pilot, the party dissolved all working committees, departments and cells of the PCC with immediate effect to pave the way for their reconstitution.
All India Congress Committee General Secretary incharge Avinash Pandey, who issued the orders to this effect, said that since new Pradesh Congress Committee chief Govind Singh Dotasra has been appointed, the new working committees, cells and departments will be set up in consultations with him.
Also, no Congress leader can speak to media without the permission of Dotasra.
Meanwhile, it’s raining resignations in Rajasthan Congress after Pilot’s sacking.
Soon after action on Pilot, Rajasthan NSUI president Abhimanyu Poonia on Tuesday also tendered his resignation.
Poonia said that around 400-500 members holding certain posts in the Youth Congress, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and Seva Dal have resigned to protest against the development.
Meanwhile, over 50 Congressmen have also resigned in Tonk, Pilot’s home constituency in Rajasthan to protest against his sacking.
District Congress President of Pali Chunnilal Chadwas has also resigned from the party.
Pilot in a tweet said: “My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all those who have come out in my support today. Ram Ram sa.”
Retweeting the post, Poonia said: “We will defeat slavery and will make the struggle win (hamein gulaami ko harana hai aur sangharsh ko jitana hai) #RajasthanKaPilot.”
He said that he resigned from the post in support of Sachin Pilot. “Our conscience is alive, so is our self-respect. #SachinPilotkesaath,” he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, protests were staged in many pockets of Gujjar dominated areas as Pilot is a favourite of the community.
Amidst the raging political crisis in Rajasthan and a catalogue of speculation, Sachin Pilot has made it clear that he is not joining the BJP and is still a member of the Congress.
He also denied “hobnobbing” with the BJP to topple the Rajasthan government as claimed by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
On Sunday, the sulking leader had declared open rebellion against his party by claiming that he has the support of 30 MLAs.
The whole political crisis began Friday night when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government. Pilot had been reportedly furious that he and his supporters have been humiliated time and again by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.