Ashok Gehlot loyalists return to Jaipur hotel ahead of Rajasthan trust vote
While Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s loyalists returned to the Fairmont hotel in Jaipur, Sachin Pilot’s supporters were not invited.
The ruling Congress party in Rajasthan will stick to its plan of holding a floor test in the forthcoming session of the state assembly despite Sachin Pilot and his band of 18 MLAs returning to its fold, party leaders said on Wednesday.
The day of the floor test will be decided by the business advisory committee which is expected to meet Thursday
Earlier in the day, the Congress MLAs loyal to chief minister Ashok Gehlot returned to Jaipur’s Fairmont hotel from Jaisalmer. Pilot’s flock of MLAs were, however, not invited to Fairmont Hotel, where the Gehlot loyalists will stay till the assembly session starts on August 14, leaders said.
Until two days ago, the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government was facing a majority crisis in the assembly, but the situation now seems to be under control with the return of rebels.
A senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity said the fact that although the party earlier had the numbers in its favour, it wasn’t enough to be in a comfortable zone. “The entire political crisis is being witnessed by the public. A message is needed to be sent that the government is safe and promises made will be fulfilled – a floor test would be held for the same,” he said.
The leader also said that the BJP’s alleged Operation Lotus that sought to topple the government might be on hold for now but it would return.
“A floor test by the government will leave no space for such threats for at least next six months. The BJP used all means such as misuse of ED, IT and CBI and horse trading to destabilize the government. Our objective is to save the democracy and the elected government,” he said.
AICC general secretary Avinash Pande said, “I am happy that the Congress members stood united like a family to serve the people. The Opposition was challenging the majority of the government. We want that they only should ask for a floor trust, rest it is for the business advisory committee to decide.”
Political analyst Narayan Bareth said Congress wants to take no risk. “The ruling party is still keeping an eye on rebels because they may still not have faith in them. They would also want to convey to the rebels that they aren’t dependent on them. In addition, the floor test will give them a breather for six months.”
BJP MLA and spokesperson Ram Lal Sharma said Congress’ agenda for convening the assembly session was to remove the rebel MLAs.
“No one is aware of the conditions under which they have returned, but it seems that the government was under pressure from the high command and has accepted them,” Sharma said.
He said the fight between Gehlot and Pilot is still on and they are working to show each other down. “The BJP neither asked nor will ask for a floor test. Let them do whatever they want to do – this is their internal issue,” he said.