Congress suspends Sachin Pilot camp’s Bhanwar Lal Sharma, Vishvendra Singh from party over leaked audio tapes
The Congress on Friday suspended Rajasthan rebel leaders Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh from the primary membership of the party, claiming they were involved in a conspiracy to bring down the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state.
Their suspension was announced by senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, who during the press conference also accused Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat of being involved in the horse-trading of its members of legislative assembly (MLAs).
The party has demanded Shekhawat must be booked in connection with its allegation.
Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh are a part of the rebel camp supporting former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot. Pilot has 18 Congress MLAs and three Independents supporting him.
“In view of the tapes released in a section of media, Shri Bhanwar Lal Sharma (MLA, Sardarshahar) and Shri Vishvendra Singh (MLA, Deeg Kumher) have been suspended from the Congress Party with immediate effect for anti-party activities,” the Congress said in a press release.
“Show-cause notice has been issued to them to explain their conduct in the conspiracy to topple the Congress Government in Rajasthan,” it said.
The party in a release after Surjewala’s press conference talked about two “sensational and shocking” audio tapes which it said surfaced through the media.
“These audiotapes have allegedly revealed the conversation between Union cabinet minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Congress MLA Shri Bhanwar Lal Sharma and BJP leader Shri Sanjay Jain,” the release said.
The intention and conspiracy to topple the Congress government in Rajasthan by offering money and trying to change the loyalty of its MLAs are clear through this so-called negotiation. This is the dark chapter in the history of democracy,” it said.
Pilot and the 18 legislators supporting had on Thursday approached Rajasthan High Court’s Jaipur bench to seek the cancellation of the disqualification notice served on them by assembly speaker CP Joshi.
They have insisted that the anti-defection law could not be invoked against them for disagreeing outside the House with some government decisions and policies.
The petition will be heard on Friday by a two-member division bench of the high court at 1pm.