The Congress government in Rajasthan is facing a crisis after the long-standing differences between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot have tumbled out.
Sachin Pilot has also been miffed over a police notice to him over a probe concerning an alleged attempt to topple the Ashok Gehlot government.
Pilot, who is also the chief of the Congress’ state unit, has been camping in Delhi and has met senior leaders of the party over the weekend.
The 42-year-old leader along with his supporters did not attend the meeting of Congress legislators on Monday in Jaipur. He has also turned down his party’s invitation to attend the next meeting on Tuesday.
Senior Congress leader PL Punia claimed that the remaining MLAs who did not attend the Congress Legislature Party meeting held on Monday, will also return to the party fold. “It is very clear that BJP is trying to destabilise the government in Rajasthan. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has himself said that the BJP has crossed all the limits. 28 MLAs have given privilege motion against BJP due to their attempts. Congress’s 107 MLAs were present and the rest of them will also come so the attempt at destabilising the government won’t be successful.
The party has called another meeting of legislators at 10 am on Tuesday and invited rebel Sachin Pilot who remained cold to the overtures. As the 42-year-old denied any meeting with Rahul Gandhi, sources close to Mr Gandhi said the two “speak often, directly… and have great respect and affection for each other”.
Pilot’s camp also said in a late-night statement released on WhatsApp that the deputy chief minister has the backing of about 30 legislators in the 200-member assembly, saying Gehlot government is in minority.
* Ahead of the the Congress Legislature Party meeting, Randeep Singh Surjewala extended a public appeal by party leaders to talk things out with an “open mind”. Pilot turned that down too.
* Ashok Gehlot showed off a number of legislators supporting his government, smiled for the cameras and even flashed the victory sign. The MLAs were then herded off to a resort on Delhi-Jaipur highway
He has also snubbed the Congress party’s request to attend the second meeting of the legislature party on Tuesday.