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Published On: Sun, Jul 12th, 2020

Sachin Pilot in Delhi with 25 MLAs amid speculations of Congress govet collapse

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sachin-GehlotNEW DELHI/ JAIPUR : Speculations are rife that Rajasthan government may go the Madhya Pradesh way as the infighting between Congress leaders continue and Sachin Pilot reached Delhi on Saturday along with 20-25 Congress and independent MLAs.
The Rajasthan Congress today claimed they stand together behind Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, denying the daylong crisis precipitated by Rajasthan Deputy Minister Sachin Pilot’s Delhi visit.
“The Congress stands united,” said the party at a press conference in Jaipur, where three MLAs who visited Delhi yesterday and are seen as part of the Sachin Pilot camp, also appeared. Mr Pilot, however, claimed that he has the support of 30 MLAs in the state assembly.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had called for a meeting of Cabinet Ministers at his residence and asked all Congress MLAs to write a letter in his support. As per the report, the meeting was not attended by the MLAs who support Pilot over Gehlot. Gehlot has alleged that a conspiracy is underway to topple his government.
Following the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly elections, a power tussle ensued between Congress old guard Ashok Gehlot and youth leader Sachin Pilot for the coveted post of the Chief Minister. Eventually, Gehlot was made the CM, and Pilot was sidelined. The divide between the two factions, within the State government, seemed to have widened over time.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Chief Minister has apprised Sonia Gandhi, State in-charge Avinash Pandey, and General Secretary KC Venugopal of the political turmoil in the state.

” Gehlot claimed that the State government was stable and would continue to remain so despite all efforts to the contrary allegedly made by leaders such as Satish Poonia, Rajendra Rathore, and Gulab Chand Kataria. He further alleged that efforts are being made to create a political crisis in Rajasthan, as was witnessed in Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier, the Rajasthan Congress claimed that attempts are being made to destabilise the Congress-led government by luring MLAs ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections. Following the scare, the Congress party has also shifted its 107 Congress and independent MLAs to a resort on the outskirts of Jaipur.

The crisis in Rajasthan came three months after the Congress lost Jyotiraditya Scindia and Madhya Pradesh to the BJP  a fallout of the tussle between the party’s old guard and the new. Mr Pilot — who lost the race for the Chief Minister ship to veteran Ashok Gehlot in 2018  is believed to be in talks with the BJP since before the lockdown.
The tipping point came after he was summoned for questioning by the Special Operations Group controlled by Ashok Gehlot’s home ministry  over allegations of destabilizing the government.
Both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been briefed about the situation, sources said. “Sonia Gandhi will take a call on the matter and all must work together whatever the differences,” the leader said.
While, Sachin Pilot has been incommunicado for the last two days, Congress general secretary in-charge for the state Avinash Pande said on Sunday, as the party scrambled to contain the crisis triggered by Mr Pilot’s revolt. However, all Congress MLAs are in touch and the Rajasthan government will complete its term, Mr Pande insisted.”
Sachin Pilot loyalists have threatened revolt following the investigating order. “Never before has sitting state president or a Deputy Chief Minister been served such letter,” sources close to Mr Pilot said. “The high command has not done anything to intervene,” they added.
Rajasthan CM 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.
Ashok Gehlot’s aides said they have invited Sachin Pilot to attend the meeting, but failed to contact him. “We have called this meeting to preempt the BJP, which keeps changing the rules of the game be it in Madhya Pradesh or Manipur,” the sources said. “We are taking adequate precautions to ensure that all our MLAS are present,” sources said.
Ashok Gehlot has called for a legislature party meeting at his residence at 9 pm today. Sources said the Congress high command is upset with him for issuing orders to question Sachin Pilot.
Just three months ago, former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia too had similarly gone underground, while orchestrating an uprising that brought down the party’s government in Madhya Pradesh. He and 22 MLAs later joined the BJP.
That risk was not there this time, Avinash Pande claimed. “All Congress MLAs are in touch with me and the government in Rajasthan is stable and will last its full term,” he said.

The SOG had registered a First Information Report or FIR based on tapped phone conversation between two men over alleged attempts to bribe Congress MLAs to topple the Gehlot government . “Everyone should cooperate with Rajasthan SOG. There is no harm in joining the probe,” he said.
The latest flash point between the two is a notice issued to Mr Pilot by the Rajasthan police’s Special Operation Group in the case related to alleged attempts to bribe Congress MLAs to switch sides in the Rajya Sabha polls.Mr Gehlot, however, has pointed out that a similar notice has been sent to him, the government’s chief whip as well as some ministers.

Sachin Pilot’s steps so far has drawn comparisons to the playbook of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who made his move in March after nursing for over a year his resentment with the Congress leadership. He is now a Rajya Sabha member of the BJP.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs).

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