Rift internal issue of Congress, tracking developments: BJP
The BJP has refrained from making any statements to imply its keenness in staking claim to forming government in Rajasthan for two reasons, according to a person familiar with the development.Updated: Jul 14, 2020 04:51 IST
Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained that it was only watching the Rajasthan developments and had no role in the intra-Congress crisis, it used the opportunity to criticise the Congress leadership, particularly the Gandhi family.
Talking to the media, party leader and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP), Om Mathur, distanced the BJP from the rumblings in the state and dubbed the fallout between chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy, Sachin Pilot, as an “internal issue” of the Congress. He added that the discomfort between the two was evident from the day of the government taking oath.
The BJP has refrained from making any statements to imply its keenness in staking claim to forming government in the state for two reasons, according to a person familiar with the development.
For one, the party does not have the required numbers to do so. In the 200-member assembly, it only has 72 MLAs and needs 101 to reach the half-way mark, and is not sure if Sachin Pilot has the numbers — and whether he will indeed make a switch or is negotiating for more space within the Congress.
“We are tracking the developments, but there are no plans underway to stake claim to form the government, unless there is a clean break in the Congress unit in the state and the CM falls short of majority,” said a senior party functionary.
Second, it is treading cautiously to avoid a repeat of how things unfurled in Uttarakhand in 2016 and in Maharashtra late last year.
In 2016, the BJP’s attempts to form a government in Uttarakhand after dislodging the Congress government came undone, when the then Congress CM Harish Rawat not only won the floor test but the courts set aside President’s Rule.
In Maharashtra, the BJP failed to sustain its government, formed with the support of Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar, when the faction of NCP rebels pulled back at the last minute, and Pawar returned to his home party.
This caution, however, did not preclude the party from criticising the Congress and placing the onus on the party to resolve the crisis.
Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat took a dig at Rahul Gandhi, the former Congress president, and tweeted, “Those who offered knowledge to the Prime Minister on the India-China stand-off have failed to resolve their dispute today!”
Amit Malviya, the IT cell head of the BJP, tweeted that Gehlot should call for a floor test to prove his majority, even though senior party leaders said it was his individual comment and not the party’s position.
“..Ashok Gehlot must immediately call for a floor test, prove his majority, save Rajasthan the drama and get on with the business of governance. But if he is herding his MLAs to a resort, then clearly he doesn’t have the numbers and is merely delaying the inevitable,” Malviya had tweeted.
Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain put out a short video blaming the Congress leadership. He said the fallout was an internal matter of the Congress, but also a direct result of keeping the interest of one family over the interests of the party. “All grassroot youth leaders who are seen as a threat to Rahul Gandhi are being ignored and insulted regularly,” he said in the video.
Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said the BJP needed to introspect about its own behaviour rather than critique the Congress.
“The BJP leaders rather than passing remarks at Congress internal affairs should first understand the meaning of “ignoring & insulting’ from LK Advani, MM Joshi, Vasundhara Raje, Keshubhai Patel and then, give lecture on grassroot leaders. The Congress is standing on the basis of strength of all its workers and BJP is standing on basis of strength of investigating agencies. Rather than working on ‘congressisation of BJP’, the top leadership of BJP should give importance to their own flock who feel neglected and ignored due to the BJP’s obsession with poaching the Congress talent pool.”