‘Is he in Delhi? Am not aware’: Rajasthan Congress in-charge on Sachin Pilot
A miffed Sachin Pilot has been camping in Delhi with MLAs loyal to him amidst apprehensions over a possible split in the party.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 09:20 IST
Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande landed in Jaipur last evening from Delhi. At the airport, the leader appeared surprised when he was asked about if he met deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot in Delhi.
“Is he in Delhi? I didn’t know about it,” Pande told a posse of reporters gathered around him at the city airport.
#WATCH: Is he in Delhi? I didn't know about it: #Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande on being asked if he met Sachin Pilot in Delhi, after arriving at Jaipur Airport late last night (12.07.2020) pic.twitter.com/FrDX4gY2Pr— ANI (@ANI) July 12, 2020
A miffed Sachin Pilot has been camping in Delhi with MLAs loyal to him amidst apprehensions over a possible split in the party.
The Congress had also sent two central observers – Randeep Singh Surjewala and Ajay Maken – to Jaipur in a bid to iron out differences between Pilot and CM Ashok Gehlot, who have differed on a number of issues since the formation of the party’s government in 2018.
Pande, at a 2:30 am press conference last night, in a counter claim said the Congress had the support of 109 MLAs hours after Sachin Pilot’s media office released a statement claiming the Ashok Gehlot government was in a minority.
“A total of 109 MLAs have signed a letter expressing their trust and support to the government led by CM Ashok Gehlot and leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Few more MLAs had telephonic conversation with CM and they’ll also sign a letter of support till morning,” said Pande at a 2:30 am press briefing. There was no mention of deputy CM Sachin Pilot in that.
He further added that a whip has been issued to all party MLAs to be mandatorily present at the Congress legislature party meeting to be held today, adding a strict action will be taken against any MLA who is absent without mentioning the reason.
Pilot, who is also Rajasthan Congress president, has already made it clear that he won’t be attending the meeting.
The ongoing crisis erupted after Pilot received a notice from the special operations group (SOG) of Rajasthan police to record his statement regarding the alleged attempt to topple the Congress government in the state.
Pilot’s supporters said he has raised issues against the functioning of Gehlot over the past fortnight with the party’s state in-charge Avinash Pande, Congress organisation secretary KC Venugopal and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in Delhi. “His concerns were not addressed,” said a party leader considered close to Pilot.
CM Gehlot alleged on Saturday that the BJP is trying to topple his government, a charge vehemently denied by the opposition party. With Pilot rushing to Delhi on the same day, some Congress legislators backing him and a few Rajasthan BJP MLAs are said to be staying in a five-star hotel in Manesar on the outskirts of Delhi.
In the 200-member assembly, the Congress has the support of 125 MLAs, including 107 of its own legislators. The party has the backing of 13 independents and five from other parties. The majority mark is 101. The BJP has 72 legislators and has the support of three of Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RPL).