Final outcome after CLP meeting today even as Sachin camps in Delhi with 20 MLAs
The Congress leadership in Delhi claims to have resolved the immediate crisis to the Congress Government in Rajasthan against the backdrop of feud between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy CM Sachin Pilot, but all eyes will be at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Jaipur on Monday morning.
Pilot is unlikely to attend the meeting and is reportedly ready for a showdown with the backing of two dozen or so MLAs. “We have conveyed his (Pilot’s decision to skip the meeting) to the high command. He would wait for their call to take his decision,” sources close to Pilot said.
Currently, Pilot along with his 20 ‘loyalists’ MLAs is camping in Delhi to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and it was not clear till late evening whether he will proceed back to Jaipur. AICC has deputed Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Randeep Surjewala as observers and they have reached the state to foresee the impending political crisis.
Several Congress leaders were aghast that Sonia and Rahul didn’t bother to meet Pilot even when the situation was so grave. “ This mentality has destroyed out party,” said a senior Congress leader.
Echoing this frustration, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal tweeted, “”Worried for our party. Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables.”
AICC sources said that Rahul Gandhi is in touch with Pilot over the last couple of days and hence there will be ne redo of the Madhya Pradesh scenario in Rajasthan.
Rumour had it that Pilot met Scindia in Gurugram, but these later turned out to be false. But Scindia took to Twitter to express his solidarity with his old Congress colleague saying even he has been sidelined and he felt pity on the issue.
“Sad to see Sachin Pilot be sidelined by Ashok Gehlot,” Scindia tweeted.
The Congress strength in 200-member Assembly is 102, with its Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance having one MLA. After 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs joined the Congress, the ruling party’s score in the House climbed up to 108. With the support of 13 Independents, 2 Bharatiya Tribal Party and two CPI-M MLAs, its tally stands at 125.
The e BJP has 72 MLAs, with 3 MLAs from alliance partner Rashtriya Loktantrik Party. Party sources that around 20 MLAs seems to back Pilot and if they leave the party, the Congress numbers will fall under 100 while the BJP numbers will touch 100.
Sachin Pilot met senior party leader and party trouble shooter Ahmed Patel who has now briefed the situation to Sonia. Patel has conveyed to Pilot not to ‘panic’ over minor political issues and that he can solve it amicably and during the course his demands may be met.
According to sources, Pilot told Patel at that chief minister Ashok Gehlot was trying to sideline him and was given assurances that “injustice will not be allowed to happen to him”.
The posturing comes amid allegations by Gehlot that the BJP is trying to lure Congress MLAs to topple the state government. The BJP has, however, dismissed the claim, saying the developments reflect a power struggle between Gehlot and Pilot, simmering since the Congress leadership in Delhi picked the more senior leader for the CM’s post. Gehlot accused BJP of offering Rs 15 cr to MLAs.
Following an FIR, both Gehlot and Pilot received summons for probe. “Notices from the SOG have come to the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Chief Whip and some other ministers and MLAs in the context of the Congress Legislature Party complaining of horse-trading by BJP leaders. It is not appropriate to present it differently by some media,” Gehlot tweeted.
During the day In a veiled attack Gehlot, Sachin Pilot’s wife tweeted that even that “magicians” start sweating when the deputy CM takes the Delhi route.
“The greatest of wizards break into a sweat when we turn towards Delhi,” Sarah Sachin Pilot, said on Twitter. It was not clear who was she referring to as “ wizard”.
Though the exact numbers of MLAs siding with Pilot was not known, yet it is estimated that he claimed to have in his bag 20 legislators including three independents.
Congress AICC in-charge on Rajasthan Avinash Pandey claimed all Congress MLAs are in touch with him and the government in Rajasthan is stable and will last its full term.
Pandey said most of the Congress MLAs who had gone to Delhi have returned to Jaipur for the CLP and stated that he hoped that Pilot too will be present in the meeting convened at that CM residence. “BJP is trying to topple the Congress government in the state, but it won’t be successful. Everything is fine,” Pandey said.
While Rajasthan Health Minister Harish Choudhary said the Congress government will complete its full term and expressed dismay at a time when entire machinery is fighting against Covid-19, BJP is fighting for the power, his another cabinet colleague Ashok Chandna said people should take lessons from Congress MLAs who left party in Madhya Pradesh.
“We went to Delhi due to personal reasons. If media says we went there for this reason or that, then it’s not our problem. We don’t want to be part of any controversy. We are the soldiers of Congress and will be with the party till our last breath,” Rajasthan Congress MLA Rohit Bohra said.
Congress MLA Jogendra Awana – who was earlier with BSP said that there is no threat to the Ashok Gehlot government.
Senior Congress leaders and memebrs in Rajya Sabha, Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi hoped the matter gets resolved soon and urged the Central leadership to be pro active.
“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,” Singhvi said.
“Worried for our party. Will we wake up only after the horses have bolted from our stables,” Sibal said.
Monday, 13 July 2020 | Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi
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