Rajasthan Congress crisis: CM Ashok Gehlot calls for 9 pm meeting, Ahmed Patel reassures Sachin Pilot
The political turmoil which had begun with the horse-trading charges in the Rajya Sabha polls last month, has now turned into an open war between CM Ashok Gehlot and Dy CM Sachin Pilot.
JAIPUR: Amid deepening crisis in Rajasthan Congress, CM Ashok Gehlot has called for an 8 pm meeting with MLAs at his residence in Jaipur on Sunday, followed by another 9 pm meeting with his ministers.
Meanwhile, Deputy CM Sachin Pilot who was reportedly in Delhi to apprise the Congress high command of his discomfiture with Gehlot's style of functioning, has not been able to meet either Rahul or Sonia Gandhi. But, he has held a meeting with senior leader Ahmed Patel who has reportedly assured Pilot that the party will ensure that no injustice is done to him.
Sources say that Avinash Pandey, the AICC General Secretary Incharge for Rajasthan has already submitted a report to Sonia Gandhi in which he has assessed that there is no danger to the Congress government in the state.
Meanwhile, in Jaipur, Congress MLAs and other leaders have started expressing full support for CM Gehlot. Given Pilot’s possible revolt and the danger to the state government, the CM residence has been buzzing with political activity.
Most ministers and MLAs in the state have reportedly given letters of support to CM Gehlot.
In another major improvement, all borders of Rajasthan were sealed on Saturday night – though the official reason is to prevent entry of outsiders to curb the spread of Coronavirus, sources attribute the unofficial reason to the the political threat that led to the decision - which was made to prevent MLAs from moving out of the state.
What has happened so far
The political turmoil in Rajasthan Congress which began when the horse-trading charges in the Rajya Sabha polls last month came to light, has now turned into an open war between CM Ashok Gehlot and his Deputy Sachin Pilot.
Pilot is now especially upset over the recent summons for questioning by the Special Operations Group (SOG).
The SOG wrote to Pilot on Friday seeking his availability to record his statement in connection with the alleged attempts to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan - a move which has brought the rift between the two leaders out in the open.
Similar letters were sent to CM Gehlot and Congress Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi too.
Meanwhile, in a placatory move, CM Gehlot tweeted on Sunday that the ''Letter from SOG to the CM, Deputy CM, Chief Whip and others is just a common notice to give simple statements on the issue of horse-trading during RS polls. The effort by some in the media to twist this simple effort is not correct.''
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday had accused the opposition BJP of trying to topple his government by offering his legislators large sums of money and said his administration is not just stable but will complete its five-year term.
CM gehlot had declared that he would cooperate with the SOG probe as nobody is above the law. But Pilot is miffed with the situation and wants to clarify his stand to the Congress High Command.
Sources say that Pilot is angry that the SOG investigation is being used by Gehlot to create a false impression that his Deputy CM is working with the BJP to topple the Congress government.
A number of Independent MLAs have also been sent similar letters. Babu Lal Nagar, a Congress-supporting Independent MLA has already confirmed receiving the same.
Apart from the SOG action, the state's Anti Corruption Bureau has also begun a probe into the alleged bid to destabilise the government.
The Congress government has distanced itself from the three independent MLAs -- Khushveer Singh, Omprakash Hudla and Suresh Tak -- who were named in the preliminary enquiry (PE).
Sources say that about a dozen MLAs are constantly in touch with Pilot and are staying at different resorts in the Delhi-NCR region.
Pilot reportedly left Delhi for Jaipur on Saturday night but has since then been untraceable both for the media and the Congress leaders who say they have no idea about pilot’s current location.
Root of turmoil
Congress sources say the investigation by the SOG of the Rajasthan police into the alleged attempt by the BJP to lure Congress MLAs into its fold ahead of last month’s Rajya Sabha polls is at the root of the current crisis between Gehlot and Pilot.