BY ARCHANA SHARMA
Jaipur, Aug 4 (IANS) Amid the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, there are whispers that the state may get a new Chief Minister as both the AICC and state Congress leaders are going soft on rebel Sachin Pilot and his loyalists who have maintained a stoic silence all these days.
Pilot’s silence, Gehlot’s loquaciousness and the party’s confusion over having the magical number for a majority will definitely be a game changer in Rajasthan politics, said a Congress leader. He added that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot however will settle his pending issues in Rajasthan, appoint his people in key positions and then might go to Delhi to lead the Congress to reform and rebuild the oldest political organisation.
Added to this is the Bahujan Samaj Party’s move to file a plea before the double bench of the Rajasthan High Court demanding a stay on the Speaker’s decision which permitted the merger of BSP MLAs with the Congress.
BSP state president Bhagwan Singh told IANS, “We moved to the double bench court on Tuesday. The reason for doing it is that all our former MLAs are in ‘jail’ in Jaisalmer under Gehlot. So notices issued by the High Court will not reach them. Hence we requested the court to stay the Speaker’s decision which permitted the merger of the BSP with the Congress in Rajasthan.”
Earlier, BJP MLA Madanlal Dilawar had filed fresh petitions in the Rajasthan High Court questioning the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress. The High Court issued notices to the Speaker, assembly secretary and the six BSP MLAs. The hearing is scheduled for August 11.
Meanwhile, Gehlot and senior party leaders have apparently gone soft on the Pilot camp and have repeated many times that if the High Command forgives them, they shall be embraced in the party.
On Monday, Gehlot said that he is like a disciplined soldier who accepts all decisions taken by the party high command.
Gehlot was responding to a media query that the Pilot camp has issued a statement that they shall be attending the assembly session which will start from August 14.
Do you think they are changing their minds? Answering this question, Gehlot said, “They know what they want to do. I am clueless whether they are in contact with someone or not. We don’t take a decision on them. I have been accepting whatever the High Command decides like a disciplined soldier.”
IANS contacted many Congress leaders who themselves were unsure of the fact if the magical figure to prove its majority is with the Gehlot camp or not.
However, one thing is sure that the number flaunted during the first CLP meeting at the residence of the Chief Minister which was said to be 109 was untrue, said a Congress worker who is a Pilot supporter.
A total of 92 MLAs went to Jaisalmer while 7 were in Jaipur which makes it 99.
One of the CPM MLAs supporting the government has announced to stay away during floor test, while another CPM MLA has been suspended for voting in favour of the Congress during the Rajya Sabha polls.
Two BTP MLAs had initially decided to stay away. However, later, a video went viral which showed BTP MLAs being beaten by the police. A few days later, they announced their support to the Congress but their support seems to be doubtful, said a party leader.
Out of 13 Independents, three have joined the Pilot camp.
So with all these numbers, the Congress had 125 MLAs with its individual tally at 100. However, now with 19 MLAs gone, it has 106 MLAs and minus 3 Independent MLAs, this number comes down to 103. One MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma is unwell, and hence the effective figure is 102.
If the six BSP MLAs get a stay order, this number gets reduced to 96 which will result in the fall of the Gehlot government.
The BJP with 75 MLAs (including 3 RLP MLAs) can extend outside support to the Pilot group (19 MLAs) and 3 Independents which takes their score to 97.
It’s an interesting fight which the Congress doesn’t want to lose at any cost.
So, the party leadership is trying for a patch up formula which is acceptable to both the Gehlot and Pilot camps. This can be to bring a new CM face as Pilot and his group have made it clear that they are not against the party but against the leadership, said a party loyalist.
BY ARCHANA SHARMA