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Cong Neither Induced Nor Pressurised BSP MLAs to Join it, Says Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

As per the anti-defection law, a group of two-third or more MLAs of any party can switch over to another party without incurring any disqualification.


Updated:September 17, 2019, 6:20 PM IST
Cong Neither Induced Nor Pressurised BSP MLAs to Join it, Says Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. (Image: PTI)

Jaipur: With BSP chief Mayawati accusing the Congress of "betraying" her for the merger of entire block of six Rajasthan MLAs with the ruling party, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday denied having given any inducement to legislators who switched sides.

He described Mayawati's reaction as "natural", but reiterated that his party did not mount any pressure either on the BSP MLAs.

In a major political development on late Monday night, entire block of six BSP MLAs merged itself with the Congress.

As per the anti-defection law, a group of two-third or more MLAs of any party can switch over to another party without incurring any disqualification.

After BSP MLAs walked over to the Congress, Mayawati accused the ruling party of betraying her, while the opposition BJP and others described the development as Gehlot's 'jugaad' to secure his government.

Reacting sharply to the development, Mayawati, in a series of tweets, dubbed the Congress as a "fraudulent party".

"The Congress government in Rajasthan has lured the BSP MLAs (to its fold) and given proof of being a non-trustworthy and fraudulent party once again," said the BSP supreme in a tweet.

"This act is a betrayal against the of the BSP movement and has been committed when the BSP was giving unconditional, outside support to the Congress government in Rajasthan," she added.

Mayawati lamented that the Congress, instead of fighting rival parties, always hurt the ones which support them.

"Instead of fighting against its rival parties, the Congress always hurt the parties which support them. It amply proves that the Congress has always been an anti-SC/ST/OBC party and has never been sincere and honest about their rights of reservation. It is very sad and shameful."

Chief Minister Gehlot termed Mayawati's response as 'natural', but said no 'temptation' was given to the MLAs.

"I understand what Mayawati ji has said, it is natural for her to have such a reaction. But, we did not mount any pressure on them," Gehlot told reporters.

He sought to justify the MLAs' cross-over, arguing that the legislators have taken the decision to join the Congress as per the aspiration of their electorates.

"She should also think that their party is neither in government nor they have a possibility to form the government," the chief minister added.

"The MLAs have taken the decision as per the expectation of the people. If the MLAs have to ensure development and get the work done in their areas, they can do it after joining the government. The government also needs stability," the chief minister added.

Congress state president Sachin Pilot too defended the development, saying the BSP MLAs have switched over to his party without any greed and it would boost development in their region.

"One of the BSP MLAs has said he has joined the Congress without any condition. If a legislator wants to join the Congress after seeing the work of the government and joins the party to give priority to the development of his area, I understand that no one should object to it," Pilot told reporters.

"The MLAs have made it clear that they have joined the party without any greed for any post of minister. They have said on record that they are joining unconditionally. What could be better than it?" added Pilot.

The opposition BJP, however, described the switching of side by the BSP MLAs as a "jugaad" devised by the chief minister to ward of the danger of disintegration of his government due to the existence two powers centres' in the states one headed by Gehlot and the other by Pilot.

With BSP MLAs joining the Congress, the number of Congress MLAs has increased to 106 in the state assembly.

In the 200-seat assembly, the BJP has 72 MLAs, and two of the CPI-M, RLP and BTP each. Apart from this, there are 13 independent MLAs are besides two seats being vacant.

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