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Trust vote vs no-confidence motion: Congress, BJP to prove strength in Rajasthan Assembly today

Riding high on the success of a ‘truce’ between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and rebel leader Sachin Pilot, the Congress government is confident of winning the trust vote.

SNS | New Delhi |

Congress’ chief whip in Rajasthan Assembly, Mahesh Joshi today morning submitted a notice to Speaker CP Joshi seeking a trust vote to prove its majority in the House.

The Speaker will take a decision on the notice shortly.

The Congress asked for a trust vote shortly after the special assembly session began this morning.

The trust vote is a counter action to BJP’s plan to move a no-confidence motion against Gehlot government.

Riding high on the success of a “truce” between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and rebel leader Sachin Pilot, the Congress government is confident of winning the trust vote.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Rajasthan Minister Shanti Dhariwal earlier said, “We are bringing a vote of confidence, it always comes first. We have a big majority.”

The much-awaited meeting between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot was held here on Thursday two days after Pilot returned from Delhi, marking a happy ending to the over a month-long political uncertainty in the state.

The two leaders met before the Congress Legislative Party meeting at Gehlot’s house with a warm handshake.

At the meeting, Ashok Gehlot gave a call to forget the past, saying, “‘Apne To Apne Hote Hain’. We could have proved majority on the floor of the House even without these 19 MLAs, but then there would have been no happiness around.”

Gehlot further said, “We will move the confidence motion ourselves. We shall also resolve the grievances of our MLAs who are annoyed with us.”

The CM also tweeted in the afternoon saying, “Our priority should be to save democracy with the feeling of forget and forgive. The conspiracy being followed in the states to topple the elected governments one by one in Karnataka, MP and Arunachal Pradesh by misusing the ED, CBI, Income Tax, judiciary etc. will weaken the democracy.”

Earlier on Thursday, the suspension of two MLAs, Bhanwarlal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh, who had pledged loyalty to the Pilot camp, was revoked. They were suspended after being charged with alleged horsetrading attempt to topple the government.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP’s decision to move a no-confidence motion against the state government in the special Assembly session has come as a major twist in the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan.

The BJP convened a legislative party meeting on Thursday, which was attended by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, national General Secretary Muralidhar Rao, state BJP President Satish Poonia, national Vice Presidents Avinash Rai Khanna and Vasundhara Raje, national Joint General Secretary (organisation) V. Satish, Gulab Chand Kataria and Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Singh Rathore, among others.

Before the start of the meeting, Satish Poonia said that the state government is struggling on many fronts and hence the party is expected to move a no-confidence motion.

Kataria later said that for over a month, the Gehlot government has been camping in hotels, ignoring the ambitious Central government schemes for the state.

“This government is acting against what it is preaching,” he added.

Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also made a scathing attack on the Congress, saying the party has been ignoring the people and their problems ever since coming to power in the state over one-and-a-half years ago.

“It changed the names of our schemes; now we want to take the benefits of the Central schemes to the people,” she said.

It needs to be noted that Vasundhara Raje has come to Jaipur for the first time since the political crisis emerged in the state last month.

All this time, she has maintained a deafening silence on the issue, except making a few tweets, besides recently meeting BJP national President JP Nadda and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi.

With the return of the Sachin Pilot and his loyalist MLAs, Ashok Gehlot enjoys the support of 125 MLAs, far more than the majority-mark of 101 in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly, whereas the BJP has 72 MLAs and the support of three more.

Gehlot has been demanding for a trust vote even when he had wafer-thin majority of 102 MLAs following the rebellion by Sachin Pilot.

Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has issued a whip to six party MLAs, directing them to vote against Congress. The BSP also warned the MLAs, who crossed over to the Congress in Rajasthan, that the party would initiate action against them if they go against the order.

Former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot returned to Rajasthan on Tuesday ahead of the crucial Assembly session after reaching an understanding with the top Congress leadership.

Speaking to reporters, he said that he was “quite hurt” with the statements made against him since the crisis erupted.

Pilot, who was also the state Congress chief but was removed after his rebellion, also said that he had not demanded any post from the party.

He stressed that he never made any statement against the party and in fact, went to Delhi to discuss issues with the Congress high command.

Indicating an end to the rebellion in the Congress’ Rajasthan unit, a meeting took place between Pilot and his loyalists and the three-member panel formed by interim party chief Sonia Gandhi to look into their grievances, at the war room in the Congress headquarters in New Delhi on Monday evening.

The breakthrough, which had threatened the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state, followed after Pilot met top party leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi earlier on Monday. The two Gandhis subsequently held discussions with Sonia Gandhi, who in turn, announced the formation of a three-member panel comprising Priyanka Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and KC Venugopal.

After Sachin Pilot and the rebel MLAs gave the second CLP meeting a miss on July 14, the Congress announced the removal of Pilot as the Deputy Chief Minister as well as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.

On July 12, 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 on the night of July 10 when the Rajasthan Police sent a notice to Pilot, asking him to record his statement over an alleged attempt to bring down the government.