Rajasthan crisis: Sachin Pilot ignores appeals, skips key Congress meeting
Sachin Pilot, who has been leading rebellion against Gehlot, did not attend the meeting ignoring calls from various leaders.Updated: Jul 14, 2020 12:44 IST
The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting began in Rajasthan capital Jaipur shortly before noon on Tuesday. This is the second CLP meeting in two days to discuss the crisis in the state as the political face-off between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot intensified.
Pilot, who has been leading rebellion against Gehlot, did not attend the meeting ignoring calls from various leaders.
Pilot and 16 other MLAs had skipped the first CLP meeting on Monday too.
Tuesday’s meeting is being held at a resort where Gehlot and other MLAs are camping since Monday. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had announced the second CLP meeting as the top leadership expressed the desire to woo back dissidents led by Pilot, who is also the state unit chief.
“I appeal to @SachinPilot and all his fellow MLAs to join today’s Legislature Party meeting. While expressing your faith in the ideology and values of the Congress, please make your presence felt and strengthen the hands of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” party general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande had tweeted just before the meeting began.
Monday’s meeting, held at Gehlot’s official residence, saw the presence of 102 MLAs, according to multiple Congress leaders present there. These included 88 Congress MLAs, 10 independents, two Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLAs, and one legislator each of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal. The national leadership of BTP, based in Gujarat, later asked its legislators not to take sides in the battle - but the MLAs have said they will stick to the government. The legislators were then taken to a private resort, Fairmont Jaipur.
The Congress has 107 MLAs in the house, out of whom 105 could attend Monday’s meeting in principle (barring the speaker and an ailing minister). This meant that 17 legislators from the party, including Pilot, did not attend the meeting. Three other independents were reported to have joined the legislators who pledged their support to the government, on the way to the hotel. This, along with an additional CPI(M) legislator’s support, appeared to take Gehlot’s count to 106 on Monday. Pilot’s camp, however, dismissed the numbers.
The majority mark in the 200-member assembly in Rajasthan is 101.