JAIPUR: The crucial meeting of the newly-formed G-19 front to neutralise the demands of Sachin Pilot camp was held in Jaipur on Wednesday. But in a new twist, the 6 ex-BSP MLAs who were part of this alliance didn't join the meeting apparently due to fears that they may face disciplinary action from the Congress high command.
The 13 Independent MLAs met at the Jaipur Circuit House in the evening and as expected they expressed full faith in the Ashok Gehlot government. They also targeted the BJP and asserted that if the Saffron party tries to destabilize the Gehlot government, then they will provide an effective answer. On Sachin Pilot, these MLAs said that he had never tasted defeat and is upset at being outwitted for the first time.
After the meeting which lasted an hour, Independent MLA Sanyam Lodha told the media that, "our group has supported and strengthened the Rajasthan government both within and outside the state assembly."
On the issue of the upcoming cabinet expansion and political appointments in the state, Lodha remarked that this is the prerogative of CM Gehlot. "When and how he wants to reshuffle the Cabinet is a special right of the Chief Minister. Creating undue pressure or setting any time limit for this exercise is totally unwanted. It will not be in the interest of the people of the state to set such conditions and our group fully authorises CM Gehlot to take all such decisions as he deems fit."
Without taking any names, this was a clear hint at the pressure being built up by the Sachin Pilot camp which wants cabinet expansion and political appointments in the state to happen at the earliest and adequate representation for loyalists of the former Deputy CM.
But when asked who is creating pressure, MLA Lodha said, “there is no need to name anyone. Everyone knows who is using pressure tactics.”
Most political observers in Rajasthan believe that the G-19 front has been specially formed as a powerful tool for the Gehlot camp. The meeting today is likely to intensify pressure on the Congress High Command not to succumb to the excessive demands of the Pilot camp.
After the meeting today and its advocacy of a 'free hand' to CM Gehlot in the matter of cabinet expansion and political appointments, the factional fight between the Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot camps is likely to escalate further. Political observers are keenly watching the next step of the Pilot camp.