Rajasthan Cong issues whip before legislature party meeting, claims support of 109 MLAs
Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said late on Sunday that the party has issued a whip to mandate the presence of all the party’s MLAs during Monday morning meeting.Updated: Jul 13, 2020 08:20 IST
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has called a meeting of Congress legislators on Monday morning after a few leaders supporting deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot trooped to the National Capital Region (NCR) amidst speculations of a split in the party.
Sachin Pilot has said he will not attend the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party at the chief minister’s residence on Monday at 10:30am.
Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pande said late on Sunday that the party has issued a whip to mandate the presence of all the party’s MLAs during Monday morning meeting.
“Strict disciplinary action will be taken against any MLA who is absent without mentioning personal/special reason,” Pande said.
Pande once again blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the political crisis in the state.
“Congress is strongly working together. The BJP is deliberately diverting the present situation. This conspiracy has been hatched by the BJP,” he said.
Monday’s meeting will be the latest in the series of talks the Congress party has been holding amid the political crisis in Rajasthan.
On Sunday night, Ashok Gehlot discussed the situation with the party’s legislators and those of other parties supporting the Congress. Around 75 MLAs, including ministers, were present in the meeting held at Gehlot’s residence.
Senior leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Ajay Maken, sent by the central leadership to resolve the crisis, also attended the meeting late on Sunday after which the party decided to issue the whip.
Avinash Pandey, who was also present in the meeting, said that 109 MLAs have signed their letters of support related to chief minister Ashok Gehlot.
“Hundred and nine MLAs have signed a letter expressing their trust and support to the chief minister Ashok Gehlot-led government and the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Few more MLAs had a telephonic conversation with the chief minister and they will also sign the letter of support till morning,” he said during a press conference.
Pilot’s camp said in a late-night statement released on WhatsApp that the deputy chief minister has the backing of about 30 legislators in the 200-member assembly.
“The Ashok Gehlot government is in minority after over 30 Congress and some independent MLAs have pledged their support to Sachin Pilot,” said the statement released by Pilot’s media office.
The Congress has 107 MLAs and has support the of another 18, taking its tally to 125 in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly. The BJP has 72 legislators and is supported by three MLAs of Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party.
The ongoing crisis erupted after Sachin 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.
The Congress said a similar notice was sent to Gehlot as well but leaders close to Pilot called it a “joke” since the chief minister is also in charge of the home department that oversees the police force.
Pilot’s camp said the July 10 notice is yet another move to “humiliate” the deputy chief minister and “undermine” his authority.
Before that, Gehlot had alleged on Saturday that the BJP is trying to topple his government, a charge vehemently denied by the opposition party.