Gehlot Govt saves the day, MLAs taken to hotel, Congress resolution targets 'anti-party elements'; Pilot refuses to budge
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Ashok Gehlot government today seemed to have dodged a potential threat from Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot who had earlier claimed that he has the support of over 30 party MLAs in the state's 200-member assembly.
In a show of strength, over 100 MLAs turned up in support of the Gehlot faction in the Congress Legislature Party meeting at the chief minister’s residence in Jaipur. Taking no chances, the Congress shifted its MLAs, including CM Gehlot, to Hotel Fairmont in Jaipur, to avert any potential threat to the government in the wake of Pilot's claims.
There was no official word on the number of MLAs who attended the meeting at Gehlot's home, but party leaders claimed 106 legislators were there.
If correct, this staves off the immediate challenge posed by Pilot, who claimed on Sunday night that he has the support of over 30 of 107 Congress MLAs in the 200-member assembly. But at least seven MLAs considered close to Pilot were not spotted at the CM's house.
However, 20 MLAs didn't attend the CLP meeting, of which several believed to be in support of Pilot. Cabinet Minister Ramesh Meena told ANI that he he was "with Sachin Pilot".
The Rajasthan Congress Legislature Party also passed a resolution supporting the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state. In a virtual notice to Pilot, it also recommended strong disciplinary action against any Congress MLA and office-bearer who "weakens" the party.
The resolution expressed confidence in the leadership of national party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Rajasthan Crisis | Sachin Pilot to not join BJP, may float his own party in coup attempt to become CM: Reports
“The Congress Legislature Party expresses full faith and confidence in the leadership of party president Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi. This meeting unanimously supports the Congress government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot,” the resolution said.
It said the CLP condemns all “undemocratic wrongful acts for weakening” the Congress Party and the state government.
“If any of the Congress office-bearers or member of the CLP directly or indirectly performs acts against the government and party or is involved in such a conspiracy, then strong disciplinary action be taken against him,” said the resolution.
Meanwhile, news agency PTI quoted sources saying that top Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, are in touch with Pilot and are trying to placate him.
According to sources, top Congress leaders have talked to Pilot and have asked him not to rebel against the chief minister. They also assured him that his grievances would be redressed at the party level.
Besides Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, other Congress leaders who are learnt to have spoken with Pilot are Ahmed Patel, former Union finance minister P Chidambaram and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal.
Rajasthan Political Crisis | 'Doors open for him': Congress makes last-ditch attempt to placate rebel Sachin Pilot
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.
The SOG has registered an FIR in this regard and has also sent notices to the chief minister, chief whip of Congress and some ministers and MLAs.
Meanwhile, the Congress has pulled out all the stops to save its government in Rajasthan and CM Gehlot has convened a meeting of the state legislature party.
Pilot, who is also the state Congress president, is miffed with Gehlot and has alleged that he was not being kept in the loop on key decisions.
Earlier today, unconfirmed media reports claimed that Pilot was planning to switch sides with the BJP and was expected to meet party president JP Nadda.
However, later an NDTV report quoted Pilot denying possibility of joining the BJP. Furthermore, a News18 report quoted sources saying that Pilot may float his own party as he is not going to join the BJP. The party is likely to be named 'Pragatisheel Congress' and a formal announcement will be issued after the CLP meeting, the report added.
Pilot may get outside support of the BJP and has reportedly demanded either the post of chief minister of key portfolios, including petroleum, in the state. This is reportedly the third attempt by Pilot to stage coup since March to become the chief minister. Sources said that Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal will be supporting Pilot in his reported new party.
(With PTI inputs)
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta