NEW DELHI: The BJP is keeping its options open, including working with Sachin Pilot. The party apparently sees the sacking of Pilot as a turning point, which could lead to a phase of political instability, and even central rule.
“Pilot is a mass leader while Gehlot excels in organisational skills. The BJP is always open to accept or partner mass leaders in pursuit of a larger electoral base,” a party source said.
Sources say a dozen fence-sitter legislators would hold the key to the future political course, adding the BJP will be working on Independent and smaller party MLAs.
“Gehlot will have to take the floor test, which will further clear up the situation. The BJP will be okay with a short spell of President’s rule if the numbers don’t work out for either side,” said a source.
Pilot promises electoral depth to the BJP with his Gujjar support base.
“He has inherited identity politics from his father, which ironically, also limits his appeal... But he can be ignored at one’s own peril,” said a leader.
The BJP on Tuesday also demanded that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot take a floor test to prove his government's majority in the Assembly.
The party also alleged that the residences of MLAs were being kept under police surveillance and the legislators of Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) "had been threatened".
The BTP, which has two MLAs in the Rajasthan assembly, has asked its legislators to remain neutral.
It was earlier supporting the Gehlot government.
"Prove majority in a floor test first and then go for a cabinet reshuffle. The result of the political fight is out," Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria told reporters.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore claimed that Ashok Gehlot government will not be able to prove its majority in a floor test.
BJP state president Satish Poonia said that the state government has lost the confidence of the people and it was time for its departure.
"The government has failed to deliver on its promises and failed to perform. We are keeping a watch on the situation and will follow the direction of the party leadership," he said.
The party held a meeting of senior leaders to discuss the situation.
Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal and convenor of Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, which is BJP's ally, was also present.
The crisis in Rajasthan Congress reached a tipping point on Tuesday as the party announced the sacking of Pilot as deputy chief minister and president of its state unit.
Two of his loyalists were also removed as ministers.
Some of the MLAs belonging to the Sachin Pilot camp too have demanded a floor test, while contesting the rival Gehlot camp's claim of having the support of 109 legislators in the 200-member House.
Gehlot has alleged that Pilot was playing into the hands of the BJP.
(With PTI Inputs)