There seems to be no end to the political turmoil continuing in Rajasthan. After a show of strength by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, resort politics has once again begun in the state.
The Congress MLAs supporting the incumbent CM were on Monday taken to a resort in buses in a bid to keep the flock together. CM Gehlot too accompanied the legislators on the bus.
Ashok Gehlot had called the legislature party meeting this afternoon to flaunt lawmakers supporting his government, smiled broadly for the cameras and even flashed the victory sign, a rebuttal to his deputy Sachin Pilot, who claimed last evening that Gehlot-led government had been reduced to a minority.
Pilot’s camp had last night claimed the support of 30 MLAs. The messaging from Pilot forced the Congress to call for a press briefing at 2:30 am late last night saying it had the support of 109 MLAs.
In the 200-member house, the majority mark is 101. The Congress, before Pilot decided to rebel, had a strength of 107 MLAs and support from other independents.
The MLAs were seen boarding buses headed towards a hotel after their meeting at the chief minister’s official residence.
The meeting endorsed the leadership of Ashok Gehlot and blamed the BJP for “ripping of the democracy” by trying to destabilise an elected government. It also called for action against those working against the interests of the party.
“This meet urges that strict disciplinary action be taken against any office-bearer or member of legislature party who indulge in activities against the Congress government, party or gets involved in any conspiracy,” read the resolution.
“All is well,” minister Mamta Bhupesh told a news agency before boarding one of the buses.
A few weeks ago ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls, the Congress had shifted its MLAs to a resort for about a week to ensure that they were not “lured” away before the voting.
Before the meeting of lawmakers started at the chief minister’s official residence, Randeep Surjewala declared that the party had not shut its doors on Sachin Pilot. The Congress leadership has spoken to Pilot a number of times over the last 48 hours and if anyone is upset in a family, they should be sitting together with other members to work things out.
“On behalf of Congress leadership, including Sonia ji and Rahul ji, I convey that doors of Congress party are always open for Sachin ji or any member,” Surjewala said.
There has been no word from Sachin Pilot’s camp about his next step. The deputy CM’s aide on Monday said that the leader is not joining the BJP. At the state party headquarters, party workers had taken down posters and banners that had a photograph of Sachin Pilot.