As the political crisis in Rajasthan Congress hasn’t got resolved yet, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot who is at the heart of the storm, on Monday released the first-ever video showing MLAs in his camp sitting together in a resort in Haryana’s Manesar. The state Congress president openly rebelled against the party and claimed on Sunday that he has the support of 30 MLAs.
The MLAs can be seen sitting together and talking, though Pilot is not visible in the video. They haven’t disclosed the place where the video has been recorded.
Congress leaders have made an emotional appeal to the 42-year-old Pilot and his MLAs to come and attend the meeting, leaving aside all differences.
Meanwhile, questions are being raised on the numbers as quoted by the Pilot camp for his claimed strength doesn’t seem evident in the video.
In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 107 MLAs and the BJP 72.
The Congress also has the support of 10 out of 13 independents, and other party MLAs like Rashtriya Lok Dal (1), which is its ally. The Congress also considers Bhartiya Tribal Party (2) and CPI(M) (2) MLAs as their supporters.
Although the Bhartiya Tribal Party, with two MLAs has withdrawn support from the Ashok Gehlot government, as the party chief Mahesh Bhai Vasava, has written to his MLAs saying his party will remain neutral in case of a floor test in the assembly, although the MLAs said that “there is some confusion. Right now we are with the government. But we will take a final decision after talking to our leaders,” NDTV quoted them as saying.
Apart from its 72 MLAs, BJP’s ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) has three MLAs. Pilot on Sunday claimed that the Gehlot government is in minority as over 30 Congress MLAs have “pledged support” to him.
While Gehlot hadclaimed that his government has the necessary numbers and is on safe ground, the Pilot group, on the other hand, had claimed that around 30 MLAs – both of the Congress and Independents – have extended their support to him.
Pilot on Sunday had sent a message saying that he shall not attend the Congress Legislative Party meeting.
There were reports that the BJP is trying to worsen the crisis with the aim to pull down the Congress government in the state with support of Pilot and his aides. But Pilot refuted the claims.
Yesterday, the Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate teams raided multiple premises connected to people from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s camp.
According to IT department officials, searches were conducted in offices of veteran state Congress leaders, including Rajeev Arora and Dharmendra Rathod, considered close to the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, the Congress today reiterated after the meeting held in the morning that it has the support of 107 MLAs.
The party is holding another meeting of its MLAs at around 10 am today and invited Pilot again. Party state in-charge Avinash Pande once again urged Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot to attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.
“I appeal to Sachin Pilot and all his fellow MLAs to attend today’s meeting of the legislature party. Expressing your faith in the ideology and values of the Congress, please make your presence felt and strengthen the hands of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” Pande said in a tweet.
The appeal comes just minutes before the crucial CLP meeting in Jaipur. So the party has delayed the second meeting of its MLAs by an hour,even as Pilot remains unmoved and is unlikely to attend the meeting, according to News 18 sources.