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Published On: Mon, Jul 13th, 2020

Congress Calls For Another CLP Meet; Pilot To Skip It

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sachinNEW DELHI : In a major show of strength, 102 Congress MLAs turned up at chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s residence ahead of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting called amid the crisis caused by deputy CM Sachin Pilot’s rebellion.

The resolution passed at the CLP meet said: “This ripping off of democracy by BJP is insult to eight crore people of Rajasthan, they’ll not accept it. CLP meet expresses its confidence in Congress President Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi, and unanimously supports the government led by Ashok Gehlot.”
As rumors flew about Pilot jumping ship to join hands with the BJP, the rebel leader reportedly told the Congress that working under Gehlot was “tough”. Sources close to Pilot, however, said in all likelihood, he would float his own party.
Sources in the Congress said the party cannot afford to lose another state, as it has already lost Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh even after forming the government following assembly elections there.
While the top Congress leadership was tight-lipped about the strategy for Rajasthan, some senior leaders said efforts were underway to keep all 107 MLAs together to avert any potential threat to the government in the wake of Pilot’s claims of support of 30 MLAs.
Till recently, the Congress had 107 MLAs and has the support of 10 Independent candidates. While Congress claims 107 MLAs were present at the Congress CLP meet on Monday, sources have told that only 84 Congress MLAs were present in the meeting which concluded at CM Gehlot’s residence in Rajasthan.
This reduces Congress’ numbers in the Rajasthan Assembly from 107 to 84, putting it in a minority. While Deputy CM Sachin Pilot claims to have the support of 30 MLAs, BJP currently has 72 MLAs and 13 are independent MLAs in the 200-member assembly.
To discuss political situation another Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meet will be held here at 10 am tomorrow. We request Sachin Pilot & all MLAs to come, we’ll also give them in writing. We’ve requested them to come & discuss the situation said RS Surjewala.
The BJP, which has 73 MLAs, needs the support of another 35 to take power in Rajasthan. Offering Sachin Pilot the post of Chief Minister will be a challenge since the party has to consider its own Rajasthan powerhouse, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Sources in the BJP said that the party is in a “wait and watch” mode over the unfolding crisis and will wait for the outcome of the show of strength between Gehlot and his deputy before deciding on its next course of action. Pilot, who is also the Rajasthan Congress president, is said to be in touch with some BJP leaders but saffron party sources declined to comment on whether it has held any discussion with him.
A BJP leader said the rebel Congress leader seems to have “made up his mind” and does not look in any mood to reconcile with Gehlot’s leadership.
The events in Rajasthan come almost four months after the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh headed by Kamal Nath was toppled, with his bete noire Jyoritaditya Scindia switching sides to the BJP, along with his supporters.

However, in-charge of Rajasthan affairs in the Congress, Avinash Pande told that the government was stable and would complete its full term. He said he has tried to reach out to Sachin Pilot, who is incommunicado for the last two days, and have left messages for him.
The Congress has 107 MLA in the 200-member state assembly, and also has support of at least 10 independent MLAs. The BJP has 72 MLAs and has the support of three MLAs of Rashtriya Loktantrik Party run by MP Hanuman Beniwal.
Meanwhile, three of the MLAs considered to be close to Pilot – Danish Abrar, Rohit Bohra and Chetan Dudi, returned from Delhi to Jaipur and extended their support to Gehlot saying they are and will remain loyal soldiers of the party.
The latest tussle in the state was triggered after the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Rajasthan Police issued notices to Gehlot and Pilot after registering an FIR on Friday against two people, who have been detained, for their alleged involvement in horse trading of Congress MLAs for toppling the state government.
The supporters of Pilot said the notice was sent to the deputy chief minister was to humiliate him. On the Rajasthan police issuing notice to Gehlot also to record his statement, they said the notice to the chief minister, also holding the charge of state home affairs, was only an “eyewash”. “Everyone should cooperate with Rajasthan SOG. There is no harm in joining the probe,” Pande said.
Hours after Sachin Pilot’s open revolt left the Congress government in Rajasthan mired in chaos and uncertainty, Rahul Gandhi finally spoke up on Monday evening – but only to lash out at “parts of the Indian news media… captured by fascist interests” and spreading “hate-filled narratives”.Rahul and Sonia – have still not met Mr Pilot, who is encamped in Delhi, for a face-to-face many believe could bring a favorable end to the crisis.
“I want to make our current affairs, history and crisis clear and accessible for those interested in the truth. From tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on video,” the message concluded. Both Mr Gandhi and the Congress have repeatedly accused the government of sowing dissension by spreading “fake news”, particularly via WhatsApp groups and forwards, and acting as “fascists”.
Last week he tweeted: “Mr Modi believes the world is like him. He thinks everyone has a price or can be intimidated. He will never understand that those who fight for the truth have no price and cannot be intimidated”.
Meanwhile,the Congress today scored a reprieve in Rajasthan after a revolt by its number two leader in the state, Sachin Pilot, but it packed off at least 100 MLAs to a resort in a sign that its crisis is far from over.
CM Ashok Gehlot flashed the victory sign along with Congress MLAs who attended his meeting in Jaipur, asserting that his government is safe. But his challenger Sachin Pilot remained cold to Congress 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”.
Sachin Pilot He insisted that Mr Gehlot had lost his majority and his claim of 106 MLAs was greatly exaggerated. In the 200-member Rajasthan assembly, 101 is the majority mark. Mr Pilot said he has 30 MLAs but Congress sources claimed he had no more than 16.
The Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister, who is at the heart of the current crisis for the Congress in the state, has denied that he is joining the BJP, sources close to him have said. But he also denied meeting Mr Gandhi or having any plan for such a meeting today.
The denial came amid Congress attempts at reconciliation with the sulking leader. Senior party leader Randeep Surjewala today said the party’s “doors were open”. Insiders said Mr Pilot was in touch with the Central leaders.
Congress sources said Mr Pilot “is still negotiating with the BJP” but the rebel leader denied he was joining the BJP like his former colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia. In nearly two years in power, the Congress’s top two in Rajasthan never stopped feuding. The tipping point for Mr Pilot came after he was asked to answer questions in an investigation into an alleged attempt to destabilise the state government ahead of last month’s Rajya Sabha elections.
Chief Minister Gehlot sought to downplay the summons by the Special Operations Group, saying he, too, had received it. That did not wash with a furious Sachin Pilot, whose aides pointed out that as state home minister in charge of the Special Operations Group, Mr Gehlot had practically given himself the summons.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs ).

 

 

 

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