New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Putting the Congress-led Rajasthan government into troubled waters, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pehlot on Sunday declared open rebellion, claiming that he has the support of the 30 Congress MLAs and some independents in the state assembly.

The statement released on Pilot's WhatApp group claimed that the Gehlot-led Congress government is in minority now. It said Pilot, who is also the state Congress president, will also skip the Rajasthan Legislature Party meeting on Monday morning.

Reports also have it that Pilot will be meeting BJP President J P Nadda on Monday, fuelling speculations that a Pilot may switch sides with the saffron party today. 

Pilot's statement surfaced just as ministers and Congress MLAs were gathering at Gehlot's official residence in the state capital for a meeting, meant to express support to the chief minister amid the power tussle between the two leaders.

Soon after Pilot's announcement, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party remained intact and the government will complete its five-year term.

Party leaders were a huddle at the CM's residence till late at night after Pilot's announcement.

Gehlot and other leaders are said to be in touch with allies and independent MLAs supporting the government, hoping to ensure at Monday's meeting that the Congress government had the numbers to retain power.

Pilot had been incommunicado for about two days.

The All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of the state, Avinash Pande, said he had been trying to get in touch with the leader. “I have left messages for him," he told PTI.

Pilot's supporters said he was camping in Delhi and was upset over a notice sent to him by the Rajasthan police, who claimed to have stumbled on a plot to topple the Congress government.

The notice from the Special Operations Group had (SOG) sought time from him to record a statement.
The same notice was also sent to Gehlot, Government Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi and some other MLAs, but those close to Pilot insisted that it was meant to “humiliate” him.

The crisis within the Congress comes barely three months after the BJP managed to return to power in Madhya Pradesh after Jyotiraditya Scindia switched sides with the saffron party. Scindia's differences with the top leadership, including Rahul Gandhi, led to the downfall of the Congress government in the state.  

Now, Pilot is believed to be in talks with the BJP, which has reportedly ruled out offering the chief minister post to him if it manages to form government in the state. Vaundhara Rajee continues to be the BJP's prime face for the top post in the state. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta