Six days before Rajasthan showdown, Vasundhara Raje meets Rajnath Singh
Rajasthan government’s fate could be decided in the upcoming assembly session beginning August 14.Updated: Aug 08, 2020 19:50 IST
Senior BJP leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje met defence minister Rajnath Singh amid the political crisis in the state triggered by the rebellion of Congress leader and former deputy chief minister of the state, Sachin Pilot and his 18 followers. This is Raje’s second meeting with a senior BJP functionary after she met party President JP Nadda yesterday following murmurs that she had been tacitly helping the Ashok Gehlot government survive the crisis in the state and was not in favour of any potential move to induct Sachin Pilot into the BJP.
Raje has not addressed the allegations specifically but stated that she remained committed to party ideals as a loyal member while some people were trying to misinform without any factual basis.
She is believed to have discussed the political situation in the state with Nadda with only a few days to go before the crucial assembly session beginning on August 14, which may end up deciding the fate of Gehlot government, surviving on a wafer thin support.
Raje’s meeting with Nadda yesterday and Rajnath today will be watched keenly since she has largely maintained silence on the political machinations unfolding in the state in the aftermath of Pilot’s rebellion last month. She has also kept away from most BJP meetings in Jaipur since the crisis broke out. People familiar with the developments have suggested that Raje discussed the party’s options in Rajasthan in her meeting with Nadda and apprised him of her views.
The fate of the Rajasthan Congress is also hinged on Rajasthan High Court’s verdict on the validity of last year’s announced merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress party. Earlier today, Rajasthan speaker CP Joshi sought transfer of petitions challenging the merger from the Rajasthan High court to the Supreme Court.
The single judge bench of the HC was expected to deliver the verdict in the case on August 11, three days before the assembly session begins.
Another key battle within the political war for power in Rajasthan could be influenced by the outcome of the Sachin Pilot’s legal challenge to disqualification petition served on him and other 18 Congress MLAs in his support. The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
A sign of political activities in the state heating up for a final showdown was also seen in the BJP’s bid to herd its MLAs, especially those from tribal areas, fearing they may be poached by the Congress ahead of the assembly session which may see a floor test to determine the power sweepstake in the state. Some BJP MLAs have been sent to Gujarat.
The Congress has 107 MLAs in the Assembly, 19 of them are in Haryana with party rebel Sachin Pilot and are unlikely to vote for the Gehlot government. Assembly Speaker CP Joshi and a bed-ridden MLA are among the remaining 88 MLAs including 75 MLAs from opposition parties, the BJP and the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party.
Eighty-six Congress legislators, 10 Independents, 2 from BTP, one CPM and one RLD MLAs are supporting Ashok Gehlot government and are camping in two hotels in Jaisalmer. The 107 include six BSP MLAs.