Sachin Pilot welcome to join, say BJP leaders as party weighs its options
The political situation in Rajasthan is very fluid with BJP and Sachin Pilot yet to reveal their future moves.Updated: Jul 14, 2020 23:13 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders held out invites to Sachin Pilot, offering to welcome the Congress leader into the saffron fold after he was stripped off his status as chief of the party unit in Rajasthan and the deputy chief minister earlier in the day.
“If anybody with a mass base joins the BJP or any political party, everybody welcomes him. Expressing trust in our ideology, if anybody joins us we will welcome him with open arms. This is a normal procedure,” Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, according to news agency PTI soon after Pilot was dropped from the Ashok Gehlot cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.
Former union minister of state PP Chaudhary said he expected more people from the Congress to join Pilot.
“So many people joining Sachin is a big thing, and I believe more will join him. BJP’s doors are open for everybody if he believes in our ideology. If Sachin Pilot joins us, I don’t think there will be any problem. Our national leadership, though, will take the final call,” PTI quoted Chaudhary as saying.
Chaudhary, however, added that the national leadership will ultimately decide if such a union was possible.
A leader aware of developments said the senior BJP leaders including former chief minister Vasundhara Raje will hold discussions over the current political situation in the state tomorrow after the virtual split in the Congress legislature party following Pilot’s removal.
The BJP has indicated that it is adopting a hands-off approach and keenly watching the unfolding of political situation in Rajasthan. The party believes that it is time for the Gehlot government to go after the rebellion led by Sachin Pilot who appears to have the support of nearly 16 MLAs.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has blamed the BJP for ensnaring Pilot to destabilise the government, a charge that the BJP has rejected. The BJP says the entire episode is a “film” that had been in planning for the last 6 months and was “directed, produced, and acted in” by Ashok Gehlot himself, who, it claimed, had “successfully plotted” Sachin Pilot’s “ouster” from the party.
Earlier a BJP leader in Delhi, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had said that the party will not seek a floor test unless it is confident that both Gehlot and Pilot factions are falling short of numbers.
BJP leaders have also claimed the party has neither formally contacted Pilot nor had been approached by him.
Another BJP leader Baijayant Jay Panda tweeted about “every experienced pilot” being aware of an “alternate air strip to land” in the event of technical problems, triggering a fresh round of speculations.
While it has been reported that Sachin has ruled out joining the BJP and could instead be considering floating a regional outfit, he has not made any formal announcement of his plans yet. Pilot is expected to address a Press conference tomorrow morning at 11 when he may outline his next steps.
While the Congress currently appears to have enough numbers to save the government, the difference between winning and losing could be wafer thin. In a 200-member house, Congress has 107 MLAs and the BJP 72, with Gehlot claiming support of several independent and other parties’ MLAs as well. However, Pilot’s camp has claimed that he enjoys support of around 30 MLAs and that if true, could prove to be a decisive factor.