Amid the ongoing political tussle between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan INC in-charge Avinash Pande on Tuesday said that the party has decided to give a second chance to Pilot by asking him to attend Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting on Tuesday.
Pande expressed hope that all INC MLAs would attend the CLP meeting and give solidarity to leadership and for which people of the state voted. Pandey said that the INC party was committed to work for the development of Rajasthan.
Sources also said that top INC leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, are in touch with Sachin Pilot and are trying to placate him, a day after the Rajasthan Deputy CM declared open rebellion against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
The political crisis in Rajasthan started on Sunday after Pilot raised the banner of revolt against CM Gehlot and sent a message to the party that he may quit the party with this loyalist MLAs. Pilot claimed in some interviews that he has the support of over 30 MLAs. The INC swung into action immediately to defuse the tension between the two leaders and a CLP meeting was called on Mondayu but Pilot and some of his loyalist MLAs decided to skip the meeting.
Sources said that the INC decided to hold another CLP on Tuesday in order to send message to Pilot that still there’s time for him to come and sort out his differnces with Gehlot. The party also wants to assure Pilot that the high command still has flexibility for him. It is learnt that the INC has decided to take a final call on Pilot’s fate only after today’s CLP meeting.
Top sources said several senior INC leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram and KC Venugopal have talked to Pilot several times in the last two days but it seems that he would not give in and may skip the CLP meeting on Tuesday too.
Pilot is currently in Delhi-NCR with his loyalist MLAs and some reports claimed that he may join BJP like Jyotiraditya Scindia, but so far it has been denied by him and sources close to him.
In a related development, Rajasthan CM Gehlot showed his strength in Jaipur on Monday at the Congress Legislature Party meeting, where around 106 MLAs reportedly attended. Ashok Gehlot, however, took his MLAs in the bus at a resort. This simply shows that Gehlot is not confident in his number game. However, those close to Pilot him disputed Gehlot’s claim that his government had a majority and said this is proven in the assembly and not at the CM’s house.
So far, the Gehlot government had the support of 123 MLAs, including 107 INC MLAs, 2 MLAs of Bharatiya Tribal Party, one RLD MLA, and 13 Independents, but of these 123 MLAs, he is now left with only 101 MLAs. Out of the 22 rebel MLAs, Sachin Pilot has claimed the support of 19 INC MLAs and 3 Independents.
Sachin Pilot has raised a banner of revolt against Gehlot after the special operations group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police sent a notice to him for appearing before it in the case involving “horse-trading” of MLAs in the state.
In Rajasthan’s total 200 assembly seats, 101 MLAs are needed to save the government, but two MLAs of the Indian Tribal Party have also pulled out of the Gehlot government, which currently has the support of merely 99 legislators. But what is more worrying for Ashok Gehlot is that among the remaining 99 MLAs, several are claimed to be of Sachin Pilot’s camp.