Rajasthan Government Crisis: Sachin Pilot Is Reportedly In Talks With BJP with Support of 19 MLAs - VRGyani News


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Rajasthan Government Crisis: Sachin Pilot Is Reportedly In Talks With BJP with Support of 19 MLAs

The Congress appears deep in crisis in Rajasthan three months after it lost Jyotiraditya Scindia and Madhya Pradesh to the BJP after a long-drawn tussle between the old guard and the new. Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot -- who shares an uneasy equation with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot -- is in talks with the BJP, sources said, claiming he has the support of 16 MLAs and three independents. The discussion has been on since before the lockdown -- parallely with Mr Scindia. But the BJP is not ready to offer Mr Pilot the Chief Minister's post and a section of leaders said he might float a regional party. Mr Pilot is deeply upset over summons for questioning by the Special Operations Group over allegations of destabilizing the government, sources close to him said. Mr Gehlot heads the home ministry which controls law and order. Mr Pilot is now in Delhi with some of his loyalist MLAs, talking to the party high command.

The BJP has ruled out offering the Chief Minister post to Sachin Pilot, sources said, because of internal leadership issue. Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has the support of 45 MLAs and their first priority now is to bring down the Ashok Gehlot government, sources said. A section of leaders said Sachin Pilot has indicated to the Congress high command that he is ready to form a regional party but not join the BJP.

The Congress high command is upset with Ashok Gehlot for issuing orders to question Sachin Pilot, sources said. It has explained all issues and concerns to Mr Pilot.

A letter asking Sachin Pilot to appear for questioning in an investigation into alleged attempts to destabilize the state government was the last straw Mr Pilot, sources close to him said. Mr Pilot was summoned by the Special Operations Group on Friday over the complaint filed ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections by Rajasthan Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi.

Sachin Pilot loyalists have threatened revolt following the investigating order. "Never before has sitting state president or a Deputy Chief Minister served such letter," sources close to Mr Pilot said. "The High command has not done anything to intervene," they added.

Mr Gehlot has pointed out that he has also received summons for questioning as well as the Chief Whip and it is their duty to cooperate. "No one is above the law," sources quoted him as saying. Mr Gehlot said yesterday that the BJP was offering MLAs up to Rs 15 crore to switch allegiance. "You saw this in Goa, Madhya Pradesh and the north-eastern states," Mr Gehlot told NDTV last evening.

Sachin Pilot -- a contender for the Chief Minister's post after the Congress victory in Rajasthan in 2018 -- was given the post of the Deputy Chief Minister. But it was the award of the state Congress chief's post to him in recognition of his work in rebuilding the state party that has been irking Mr Gehlot. With him holding the post for six years, there have been talks of removing him too, sources said.

Differences between Mr Pilot and the Chief Minister have been surfacing regularly since the government was formed. Last year, after the Lok Sbaha elections, Mr Gehlot blamed Mr Pilot for his son's defeat. "Pilot should take responsibility," the Chief Minister had said.

The Congress holds 107 seats in the 200-strong Rajasthan Assembly and has support from 12 independent candidates. In addition, five MLAS from other parties -- the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the CPM and the Bharatiya Tribal Party - support Mr Gehlot.

Ahead of last month's Rajya Sabha elections, the Congress, unsettled by events in Madhya Pradesh and faced with similar events in Gujarat, moved its MLAs to a resort. At the time, Mr Gehlot had told NDTV he had heard "reports that the BJP is willing to spend up to 25 to 30 crore per MLA".

In Madhya Pradesh, the Kamal Nath government had collapsed in March after Jyotiraditya Scindia joined the BJP with 22 MLAs after a long drawn power tussle between the party's old guard and the new.

News Source: NDTV

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